On March 29th, The Coalition of Women for Peace is planning to hold a conference on women in Gaza, entitled “Women Beyond the Siege”. The conference will be held at Al-Saraya theatre in Jaffa, and will host a video conference with women in Gaza, as well as feminist activists from the local and international community.
Right wing activists, in cooperation with the ministry of Culture are trying to cancel the planned event. On March 22nd, Israeli news website NRG, published an item challenging the legitimacy of holding this event supposedly due to Coalition of Women for Peace’s political stance, and quoting Culture Ministry official saying that they plan to look into state funding to the theatre.
In recent years, the state of Israel has been passing legislation, advocating and acting publically in various ways against the civil society and against any criticism of the government and its policy, creating an atmosphere of intimidation, deterrence for resistance and limiting activists, organizations, and groups opposing the occupation and acting against human rights violations.
This is but one of many cases in which Human Rights Defenders, and specifically Women Human Rights Defenders have been persecuted and it is crucial to act for the rights of these women to express their political beliefs and be protected from persecution.
The invitation to “Women Beyond the Siege”, states “Organizations and international institutions are warning that Gaza is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis. Already now, Gaza is facing a water crisis, extreme pollution, electricity shortage as well as economic distress. All these hardships turn life into a daily struggle for survival for Gaza’s residents, both women and men. This situation is the cumulative outcome of a decade-long siege on Gaza, in addition to the frequent military offensives on the strip every few years, and the attempts at reconstruction in-between these rounds. Amidst all this, women in Gaza are dealing with specific difficulties and challenges. But as already the situation in Gaza is rarely brought up, the situation of women is even less present in public debates.”
Indeed, it seems that Israeli officials are interested on keeping the voices of women in Gaza unheard and the effects of the siege not talked about in the public discourse.
The event will be held as planned, despite these attempt at silencing the women’s voices and we urge you to attend the event in support, and spread this message to help us let these voices be heard.
The event will take place on March 29th at 18:00, at Al-Saraya theatre in Jaffa.
Please contact [email protected] for any further information.