Palestinian women lead resistance against Israeli occupation

Israeli security forces try to detain a Palestinian woman in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah (Emmanuel Dunand - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  May 16, 2021

Palestinian women are leading the resistance against Israel’s forced migration and threats of displacement in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, reports Anadolu Agency.

While the tension that started with Israel’s attacks in East Jerusalem is rising, the historic Sheikh Jarrah is at the center of the events.

Sheikh Jerrah is an area where diplomatic representations and institutions are located near the region where Palestinians live in East Jerusalem and have also been associated with Jewish settlers’ attacks on Palestinians living in the region.

In the neighborhood, 27 Palestinian families face pressure to evacuate their homes in favor of Jewish settlers and the threat of forced eviction due to a ruling by Israeli authorities.

Palestinians have long held demonstrations at Sheikh Jarrah to support families threatened with forced eviction.

Despite attacks by Israeli police and Jewish settlers, Palestinians continue their peaceful demonstration.

Many Palestinian women also support the demonstrations, while the Israeli police use disproportionate force against the demonstrators.

Anadolu Agency spoke to Palestinian women who were detained by Israeli police.

Activist Meryem Afifi, who was detained last week in a demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah, said she was beaten while detained by the Israeli police.

Afifi, who is also a musician, was released after two days in detention.

A photo of her while being taken into custody by Israeli police was widely used by international media outlets and social media.

“Many people said I was smiling for the cameras,” she said. “Of course, I wasn’t laughing at the cameras, but with my other friends who were demonstrating in the field. Yes, even though it was a time of detention, I was right and I had the right. The rightful person also smiles and is not afraid.”

According to Afifi, resistance to the occupation cannot be put only on the shoulders of men and children. “If we women do not resist this occupation, if we do not demand our rights, if we do not struggle to stay in this land, who will do this?” she asked.