Thursday, March 09, 2006


International Womens Day in Jerusalem

International women's Day (I'D) near Jerusalem. There were 118 women and 5 men (including myself) gathered at AR Rum checkpoint. Apparently it was advertised as a women's march but the organisers were happy for men to be there.

The organisers asked that the men stay near the back/sides not so much because it was a women lead demonstration. But as one of the women who did checkpoint watch explained to me, "Palestinian women feared getting arrested and the police would be more likely to obstruct or arrest a group with men who could be more easily be portrayed as starting violence."

Amongst the women there appeared to be a fair mix of Israel's and Palestinian women, as well as internationals. The proportions difficult to calculate give the number of Palestinian women without head coverings that could have been Israelis (and vice versa). Needless to say that it was a really melting pot of women, old, young, alternative and more conservative in appearance etc.

The rally was organised by the Jerusalem Centre for Women (JCW). There were placards throughout the rally in Hebrew, Arabic and English with slogans like 'War means unemployment,' 'Dismantle the settlements NOW,' 'House Demolitions Violate Women,' etc. The rally also had many placards particularly reflecting the politics of the Jerusalem Centre For women with the words "Jerusalem two capitals for two states.'

The rally was a fairly quiet one. Mid march the women moved from the footpath to line the Apartheid wall. Apparently many of the Israeli activists who would have attended were attending another IWD demonstration in Nazareth.

We marched from AR Rum checkpoint to Qalandiya checkpoint which isn't too far away. These two checkpoints like many other checkpoints are very close together (especially by car) forcing Palestinians to go through a gauntlet of ID checks. When we marched to Qalandiya we received a very positive reaction from all the Palestinians walking out of the check point.

The Rally provided a rare opportunity for me amongst the various media people take a few pictures of Qalandiya's entrance something I am not normally able to do because it like all other checkpoints are 'closed military zones'

Hi Harrison. This may be an innapropriate post for the comment but ...I just found your blog and it is absolutely excellent! One of the best I've seen actually.

Anyway, I hope you are OK and everything is going well for you.

Em (melbourne)
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