Coalition of Women for Peace Sides with Female Terrorists

Published: March 11th 2010

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Dozens of Palestinian and Israeli women demonstrated on Tuesday, March 9 outside of HaSharon jail north of Tel Aviv calling for the immediate release of all Palestinian female “political” prisoners. The Coalition of Women for Peace, an Israeli-Arab left wing umbrella organization, organized the demonstration on the occasion of International Women’s Day. In its press release published before the demonstration, it noted that “Thirty-four female political prisoners are being incarcerated in Israeli jails. Those prisoners suffer from physical, sexual and verbal abuse by Israeli security forces and in many cases prisoners are held in captivity under a generally written and obscure administrative warrant, which make it difficult to defend themselves in court.”   


Lana Khaskia, coordinator of the Coalition of Women for Peace, said that, “We are demonstrating in order to remind the Israelis that International Women’s Day is not a holiday, but a day highlighting the ongoing oppression of women. While Jewish women celebrate International Women’s Day and [proudly] mark their progress towards equality, Palestinian women suffer behind jails’ fences. The political oppression, the physical abuse and humiliation which Palestinian women experience in jail are all a metaphor of the Israeli occupation as a whole, which is oppressive, violent and penetrating to the body and the open space. Therefore, the struggle against the occupation is also a struggle for women’s liberty and for women’s rights to their body.”


A short time after the demonstration dispersed, I interviewed Elat Maoz, a senior activist from Coalition of Women for Peace, about her organization’s goals and her position regarding the Palestinian prisoners and the preferable way to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians.


Can you please provide me more details on the demonstration?


Dozens of activists gathered in front of HaSharon prison and participated in the demonstration under heavy police security. The police forced the demonstrators to disperse in spite of the fact that it was legal and there was no need for advance approval from the police. The demonstrators, in direct linkage to Women’s Day, called for the release of all political prisoners incarcerated in Israel and freedom and equality for women.


When you mentioned political female prisoners you were referring to the Palestinian prisoners and not to Israelis?


There are only Palestinian political prisoners in Israel.


You mentioned 34 political prisoners. Is that the total number of Palestinian female prisoners?


These are all Palestinian female prisoners incarcerated in Israeli jails. Thirty-four in total.


Why do you call them political prisoners? The Israeli government refers to them as terrorists.


That’s exactly the reason why we are protesting against the Israeli approach, as these prisoners are not citizens of the State of Israel. They are under occupation. They were arrested because of their struggle against the occupation and therefore, they are political prisoners. Any arrest of a Palestinian by Israel is a political arrest, as it is not conducted based on fair trial or in the framework of one legal system, but under the occupation.  


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