Gaza: Women of Resistance

gazamothers[1]Gaza women and children have always been the main targets of Israel’s Nazi army. For example, During Israel’s seven week invasion of Gaza (Operation Brother’s Keeper) in 2014, according to UNICEF Israelis killed more than 500 children while injuring another 3,300 and left hundreds of thousands of children in need of psychological support to deal with the emotional distress of living through Israeli carpet bombing. In contrast, only three Israel children were killed by Hamas rockets.

Since 2007, Israel and its collaborating Egyptian regime have imposed a land, air and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip. They control all of the the borders and the movement of people and goods allowed into and out of the Strip. During this time women in Gaza have emerged as the real heroes of the Islamic resistance in world’s modern Auschwitz.

In 2015, over 8% of Gazan households were headed by women. According to the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs nearly 800 women were widowed as a result of the Israeli terror of 2014. Nearly 24,000 girls and 23,000 women are still displaced following the destruction or damage of their homes during the hostilities. They have been forced into temporary accommodation with host families, in rented apartments, prefabricated units, tents and makeshift shelters and some, in the rubble of their previous homes. Such precarious housing, raises a range of protection concerns.

According to the latest figures, more than 70% of households receive only 6-8 hours of piped water every few days, whilst the entire population suffers from scheduled electricity blackouts for 12-14 hours a day, as Israeli bombs have destroyed the electricity plants. This decline in basic services, has undermined the ability of most of the women and girls to engage in income generating activities or to have time for their own needs. This is also linked to the traditional division of labour in the Palestine society, where women and girls bear the primary responsibility for the functioning and maintenance of households, which have become more time- consuming.

According to the UN Women-Palestine Country Office, 76% of Palestinian women in Gaza are working in services and only 17.5% in agriculture. Unemployment is highest among women: 82.6% of females between 15-29 years; 74% of single females; 63.6% of married females, whilst 37.4% men (OCHA). Many of the educated mothers are more or less single, as they are active in local politics and searching for jobs, whilst taking care of their children when their husbands are in and out of Israeli prisons.

To learn how these brave women are copping to support their families, watch a video below.

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