Women's voices: glimpses of life under occupation
The Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling has published this report bringing together fourteen testimonies that describe the day-to-day experiences of women living in the occupied Palestinian territories. The aim of the report is to provide a brief glimpse of the daily struggles of life in the region, and to illustrate the effects on women of the practices and policies implemented by the Israeli military and civilian authorities.
The report begins with an overview of the history of the military occupation, beginning with the six-day war in 1967, and of the present-day situation. There follows six chapters of two or three testimonies each, covering: night raids; settler and soldier violence; soldier’s testimony; property destruction; East Jerusalem; and the Gaza Strip. Each chapter begins with a brief overview and analysis of the type and scale of the practices involved, before presenting individual testimonies of particular, documented events.
Examples of the testimonies presented include mothers recounting their sons being forcibly arrested and beaten in their homes in the middle of the night; a 15 year-old girl beaten by soldiers whilst herding goats; and a mother videoing an attack by settlers on a Palestinian village. Also included are two testimonies from former Israeli soldiers documented by Breaking the Silence, in which they reflect on the then normalcy of the day-to-day brutality of their work.
The physical and psychological effects of raids, violence, seizure and demolition of homes, and repeated exposure to unpredictable violence, are having a devastating affect on women, particularly mothers. Insomnia, headaches, anxiety, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, and a range of other symptoms adversely impact their capabilities as mothers. The report concludes by rhetorically asking whether the current policies of the Israeli military and government are going to lead to a just and lasting peace.