Palestinian Mothers Are always in the Front Line in Gaza

Women of Gaza are marching to demand their Right of Return. (Photo: via Facebook)

Tens of thousands of Palestinian women participated in the weekly massive demonstrations dubbed the Great March of Return, under direct Israeli fire along the perimeter fence with Israel.

The women are usually walking with all their members of the family, holding banners, calling for their freedom and justice from the Israeli occupation and siege on Gaza.

The Great March of Return steering committee announced last Friday’s name as “Palestinian Women Friday” to honor her courage and steadfastness in the face of continuous brutal apartheid Israeli actions. The steering committee assured that they also mean to shed the lights on the suffering that Palestinian women in Occupied Palestine and in particular Great March of Return.

Since the culmination of the massive rallies, 4 Palestinian women were gunned down and killed, more than 330 women were injured by live ammunition by Israeli occupation fire stationed on the separation fence with the coastal enclave, in addition, hundreds every Friday suffer from suffocating of toxic Israeli gas according to the ministry of health in Gaza.

Jihad Abu Mehsin, 48 years old, is one of the participants who has never missed being in the encampments east of Gaza City. She is always seen on her donkey cart and with her little sons going to the demonstrators.

“Every Friday, I ride down on my cart and cross nearly 16 kilometers to reach the demonstrations east of Gaza. The youth burn the car tires near the fence so the black smoke hides the demonstrators from the Israeli snipers’ fire … My husband is always asking me not to go and keep yourself at home safe and I always reply that I am doing this for a better and safe future for my children”.

The Israeli occupation forces have opened fire at the peaceful protesters since they started to arrive for hundreds of meters to the fence.

OM Fadi Addorah is always taking part in the protests since day one, helping the protesters by distributing water among them and sometimes she uses saline solution to rescue those who suffer from suffocating tear gas that is fired by the Israeli troops.

She said:

“In the first days when the protest started from the early morning, I used to cook traditional Palestinian dishes and having them with my family and neighbors in the encampment tents.” we are directly facing the occupation brutality and sending the message of resilience, steadfastness and peace until we achieve our freedom.”

The Palestinian women constitute nearly half of the society in occupied Palestine. Some consider the Palestinian women as those who shape any resistance movement against the occupation.

Palestinian women have participated in every stage of the Palestinian struggle since the Israeli occupation of Palestine began in 1948.

They include female martyrs, wounded, and prisoners.

Israa Alareer, 24, a journalist from Gaza, was shot twice in the leg causing permanent disability and she suffered two separate times from suffocating tear gas by Israeli occupation forces while covering the events of the Great March of Return along the border fence with Israel.

“I never think of giving up. I am doing my duty despite my injury. The occupation forces directly target our journalists. I was actually far away from the fence clearly wearing my PRESS vest when I was targeted.”

Since 1967, Israeli troops have arrested at least 16,000 Palestinian women from across occupied Palestine.

OM Mohammed Assersawi is a Palestinian mother whose role is participating in the Great March of Return and providing a helping hand to the demonstrators. Her son, Mosa Abu Hasanain, a medic was shot dead by Israeli fire while rescuing the injuries. He used to accompany his mom in the march. Both of them deliver different assistants to the demonstrators.

“I have bandages, saline solution, water, food and everything the protesters need. I started March 30 last year, and we are still full of hope that we will get back to our occupied land … The killing of my son gives me the power to keep going on on our way and the Israeli fire never stops me from being a good mother and example for the next generation.”

According to observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers, the Israeli forces who stationed in prone positions and in military jeeps along the fence with Israel continued to use excessive force against the demonstrators by opening fire and firing teargas canisters at them.

Om Nihad Abdullah is a permanent participant in every return movement, she has been always seeing wearing Burgu which is considered Palestinian traditional Bedouin clothes.

“I am always wearing my village traditional clothes to sustain the Palestinian identity by protecting our heritage.”

A UN Independent Commission of Inquiry found that Israeli soldiers used live ammunition against unarmed protesters, killing at least 189 Palestinians during protests near the separation fence between Israel and Gaza last year.

– Wafa Aludaini is a Gaza-based journalist, head of the youth group 16th October. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

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