I received several letters commenting on my article entitled: "Women’s Boat to Gaza 2016: A Message of Hope, Solidarity and Love". Within my column, “A space for dialogue”, I host some of these comments
The letters not only expressed complete support for the initiative to break the siege on Gaza, but they also confirmed the importance of raising our voices to #breaksiege on all of Palestine and #endoccupation. The letters remind us that the rising voice of international feminist solidarity is the result of extensive Palestinian struggle on an international level, and the result of the efforts of the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW), and the first women fighters who put in great efforts on an international level with advocating international institutions, organization and committees.
The letters also included some practical suggestions for physical and moral support including the launch of a supportive electronic campaign in both Arabic and English, and some wondered about the possibility of joining the Boat. One of the letters even went further, suggesting forming an international Palestinian committee to organize a one million-strong demonstration that does not break up until the siege on Gaza and Jerusalem is broken.
“I suggest that a bus be organized at least to carry female leaders and activists from the West Bank to wait for and receive the Women’s Boat even if the Boat never arrives. The presence of the West Bank’s women sends numerous messages, most importantly a message for the women standing with us that the women of Palestine are all united and they receive them with love and hope to break the siege not just on the Gaza but all of Palestine.
I wish that the GUPW can dopt this recommendation.
It is possible to organize different activities around the expected date of the Boat’s arrival – that would be an excellent opportunity to break the monopoly of men in events. This is the month of women and women’s voices, so let’s invest in it to raise their voices.”
Wafa’ Abdel Rahman/ Ramallah
Honorable efforts by women to break the Israeli siege on our dignified strip. Such bold initiatives do not only target the Zionist entity, but also they are also against all forces of arrogance, criminality and cowardice in this sick world, which allowed and blessed the establishment of the Zionist entity, which was recognized by Moscow and Washington in the first place, and which is being driven by the Security Council into the abyss. The five Vito countries should pay for the crimes they commit against humanity by being stripped of their positions, which are aligned towards maintaining the Zionist entity in Palestine. We welcome all noble initiatives that would give the Israeli Occupation a slap in its black face.”
Nassar Yaqeen/ Palestine
This due break of the siege on Gaza came after extensive efforts by all European advocacy committees, and I have thorough knowledge of their work since the late sixties with our women’s organizations, which happened to establish strong bonds with these committees. And I remember the Palestinian women leader delegations who did a number of visits to contact women’s institutions and syndicates inside Europe. We can now witness very clearly the fruits of this work. I say this so that others will not steal the great efforts that were made by the GUPW, and the role of our first Palestinian women fighters. Please excuse me for steering off topic here and discussing the Palestinian church struggle, which helped push our Palestinian political work in Europe. Palestinian church delegations and leadership took off to gain support for our cause from European churches of various denominations. Those are efforts that are often unmentioned, and what pushed me to say this is that these delegations were common between Christian Palestinian figures, both men and women, and as an example I mention: Father Ayyad, Bishop Muneeb Younan, Mrs. Su’ad Younan, Rayyah Abu Asal, and the list goes on. At that time, they represented ships that set sail to break the political siege and reveal Israel’s racism, and opened closed doors.
In my opinion. I believe it is the duty of every Palestinian man and woman in Europe to provide physical support to such activities, and they are capable of that at different rates, and “On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear.”
Omar Sabri Katmuto/ Norway
I have an idea…calling on all women in all parts of the work to stand up the minute the boat sets sail holding the Palestinian flag, or anything that signifies the Palestinian cause, just so we can send a message to everyone on that boat: We are all with you for 15 minutes.
Hala Khuffash/ Cairo
If we are serious about breaking the siege on Gaza and returning to a national liberation project – ending the Occupation, this is my suggestion: an initiative to rally a one million-strong demonstration. The demonstration starts in Gaza, and then heads for prayer in Al Aqsa Mosque and Church of the Resurrection, opening a safe route between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, then heads to Al Beera and Ramallah to demonstrate for boycotting, until the President issues his decree according to the basic law, and sets a date for presidential and legislative elections. After that, the demonstration heads back to Gaza, its starting point. This one million-strong demonstration should be repeated until the siege on Gaza and Jerusalem is broken (so that Jerusalem and the West Bank become one geographical unit, not separated by crossings.)
The establishment of a primary local Palestinian committee, 48, 67, to set the details, and work on establishing an international Palestinian committee to start full planning to organize such a demonstration.
Abdul Jawad Saleh/ Al Beera
The Palestinian Women’s Statement, which was issued by the GUPW, institutions, centers and women’s organizations in March 2016, included a salute to the Women’s Boat to Gaza initiative.
The GUPW President Intisar Al Wazeer welcomed the step, which was announced by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition to launch the boat project, which will set sail towards the besieged Gaza Strip in the middle of September 2016.
She said, “This announcement of this important step comes on International Women’s Day, which gives it a global dimension.” She stressed that this step is a continuation of the struggle the Palestinian women have been through throughout the history of the Palestinian cause. She called on the international community to provide protection to the boat so it could reach the beaches of Gaza in peace.
Palestinian women fight alongside the women of the world, for a free world, free from persecution, discrimination, oppression and violence. As Palestinian women, they fight for a free country, without occupation or discrimination of any kind, whether ethnic, sectarian, gender-based or religious.
They call for expanding the global feminist solidarity to end the colonial Israeli Occupation, which hampers achieving human security, and is an obstacle in the face of just peace and the advancement of humanity.