Unrest in Jerusalem—women deeply affected

With protests erupting in Jerusalem, in the aftermath of the forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, women are experiencing more violence.

The Israeli West Bank wall. As the occupying power, Israel has been violating international humanitarian law for many years when carrying out eviction of Palestinians. In a recent report, Human Rights Watch notes that certain “deprivations are so severe that they amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution”.
The Israeli West Bank wall. As the occupying power, Israel has been violating international humanitarian law for many years when carrying out eviction of Palestinians. In a recent report, Human Rights Watch notes that certain “deprivations are so severe that they amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution”.

Earlier this year, Israeli court ordered several Palestinian families to leave their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. The ongoing forced evictions are threatening hundreds of families and has caused an eruption of protests. Yet, this is only the latest in a series of events which has increased the tension in Jerusalem in recent weeks.

“The looming Israeli annexation for a large area of the West Bank which has temporarily been put on hold, an increase of demolitions of homes in the West Bank at an unprecedented rate and lack of political leadership, just to name a few,” says Zayneb alShalalfeh, senior programme officer for Kvinna till Kvinna in Jerusalem.

Last night, things took another violent turn, as rocket attacks hit Gaza—killing 26 and injuring over 100.

Women exposed to uncertainty and violence

Kvinna till Kvinna has, with concern, for some time noticed increasing impact on women’s lives, due to the threat of forced evictions. Not just the psychological and emotional unrest of not knowing what is going to happen or how the family is going to get by, but also increased domestic violence due when tensions are running high in the family. This has only been exacerbated by the economic hardship due to the covid-19 pandemic.

When families are evicted, they often experience harsh new living conditions in overcrowded spaces, this also severely affects the children. Women are also experiencing threats and intimidation, including physical violence, from settlers and Israeli forces, which also leaves children with trauma all their lives.

Emotional burden

One of Kvinna till Kvinna’s former partner organisations, Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling, describes in a report on forced evictions that women, in particular, are concerned about their children and have to be the emotional centre and stabilising force in the family.

As all too often in times of crisis, it falls upon the women to take care of the family, as well as themselves. Nevertheless, women are showing incredible strength: taking part in both community resistance as well as navigating the threat of eviction during a pandemic with harsh economic consequences.

The violence must come to an end.

 

Kvinna till Kvinna has supported women’s rights in both Israel and Palestine since 2001.  Learn more about our work in Middle East and North Africa

11 May 2021