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Thursday, March 06, 2008

 

Open Letter on the Occasion of Women's Day

From Rima Tarazi

An Open letter to
His Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations
On the Occasion of Women’s Day
March 8, 2008
From
The General Union of Palestinian Women
Women’s Associations and Centers
Ministry of Women’s Affairs


On this day, the 8th of March, we call upon the UN to honor Palestinian women by putting an immediate end to their suffering inflicted by the Israeli occupation and its ongoing war crimes committed with impunity against their people and their land. At a time when women, the world over, are joyfully celebrating this historical landmark, Palestinian women are in deep mourning over the loss of their infants and their loved ones as a result of the horrific massacres committed in their midst by the Israeli war machinery from air, land and sea.

We call upon the UN to uphold the principles upon which it was founded, by abiding by international law and implementing its own conventions and resolutions.

We call upon it to have the courage to restore its credibility amongst the peoples of the world as a bastion of fairness and justice and as a haven for the oppressed and not as a tool in the arms of the powerful nations.

For 60 years, the Palestinian people have been waiting in the corridors of the UN in the hope of restoring their robbed homeland and their inalienable rights which were confirmed, affirmed and reaffirmed by this august body. Instead, the years of dispossession were gaining permanency and Israel was allowed to get away with establishing facts on the ground at every juncture, by its military exploits, in contravention with international law. Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing was becoming more obvious as the Peace Process to which our leadership was committed, turned into a Dispossession Process. Under the umbrella of peace, Israel perpetrated its policy of land confiscation and settlement. Gradual and insidious measures were instituted to rob our people of their livelihood, their identity, their aspirations and their freedom. Accelerated attempts were exerted and continue to be exerted at changing the Arab character of Jerusalem, the heartland of Palestinian land, and at denying its residents and rightful owners their legitimate rights in the city. Palestinians were expected to remain docile subjects as they witnessed their most basic human rights violated and their very existence threatened by the Wall, declared illegal by the Hague International Court of Justice, and the hundreds of check posts and by- pass roads dividing their land into isolated enclaves. Occupation was slowly acquiring legitimacy by the international community; defending the spoils of its aggression by aggravating its measures and human rights violations against a defenseless population, was widely accepted and justified as self defense, while easing such measures and violations or reducing the level of its aggression became, ironically a reward, indeed, a magnanimous gesture for acquiescence and subjugation!
This unfortunate state of affairs led to the perception that there is parity between the occupiers and the occupied. Moreover the occupied who dared resist or protest became branded as terrorists while the occupiers were merely gingerly prevailed upon, not to use excessive force!!

As women, committed to the welfare of humanity and to a peaceful and secure
future for our children, we have warned over and over again that this grievous situation is bound to give rise to bitterness, frustration and rage within the ranks of our people, leading to grave consequences. If peace is ever to prevail in this region, the UN has no choice but to assume its grave responsibilities by addressing the situation with audacity and even handedness, within the frame work of the powerful tool of international law.
An immediate end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian State would be a first step towards achieving this goal .


Until such a time we call upon the UN to

1.Take legal measures to stop the Israeli onslaught against our people in Gaza and in all the occupied territories
2 . Lift the siege imposed on Gaza, which is not merely threatening the lives of 1.5 million people but is leading to an environmental disaster with grave consequences on the whole area.
3. Accord international protection to our people under occupation and implement UN resolution 1325 that calls for the protection of women and children in times of war .
4. Ensure that the 4th Geneva Convention is respected by Israel as an occupying power, in all Palestinian land including East Jerusalem.
5. Impose sanctions on Israel for its war crimes and its blatant violations of human rights and international law
6. Exert efforts towards freeing Palestinian women prisoners and all other political prisoners, especially children, from Israeli jails.
7. Institute measures towards the implementation of all UN resolutions pertaining to the Palestinian Question and which affirm Palestinian inalienable rights.


The General Union of Palestinian Women
Women’s Associations and Centers
Ministry of Women’s Affairs Palestine

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