“To exist is to resist” – Why Labour Women Speak up for Palestine

By the Labour & Palestine Team

News attention on Palestine waxes and wanes. But the struggles of Palestinian women for their human rights and liberation cannot, does not and will not, and for this reason Labour & Palestine is organising an online event in the run up to Labour Women’s Conference 2022 to discuss the current situation and how we expand solidarity.

Last year, the international community and labour movement widely condemned Israel’s militarised violence against the Palestinian people, including the attacking of the Al Aqsa mosque, the forced displacements from Sheikh Jarrah and the deadly assault on Gaza. But not enough attention is paid in the media to the ongoing abuses of the Palestinian people’s rights and what the illegal occupation really means.

The seriousness of the situation facing the people of Palestine is confirmed by the fact that the International Criminal Court is holding an inquiry into abuses committed in the occupied Palestinian Territories since 2014.

Now we must speak up for Palestine again – and ensure it doesn’t slip down the agenda.

In this context of ongoing illegal occupation, Palestinian women are at the forefront of protests in their homeland today, from Naqab to Gaza, defending homes, land and people, and struggling for liberation, justice and peace.

But imagining this is a recent phenomenon, as some commentators do, gives a wrong analysis of the role Palestinian women have played historically.

The reality is that Palestinian women have always played a leading role – from the British mandate, to the Nakba, to the blockade of Gaza Strip and the campaign against Israel’s apartheid wall, to opposing illegal settlements today.

And the role of Palestinian women is critical – from leading community groups and political movements, to building international solidarity and awareness of the Palestinian struggle, to educating the next generation of people there on Palestinian history and steadfastness.

As Labour members who stand with the Palestinian people internationally, our job here is to raise awareness of these and speak up in solidarity with the women of Palestine, the Palestinian people as a whole and their fundamental rights, including to self-determination.

In this context, Labour must build on – not step back from – its commitments to immediate recognition of the state of Palestine and an end to the blockade, occupation and settlements as outlined in the 2017 and 2019 manifestos, and in the motions passed by the Party’s annual conferences in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

Labour and Palestine will be facilitating an important online discussion on these issues on March 14th – between International Women’s Day and Labour Women’s Conference – please register and join us!

  • Join thousands of other Labour members in signing the Labour Must Speak Up for Palestine statement, which argues that “We must support ‘effective measures’ including sanctions, as called for by Palestinian civil society, against actions by the Israeli state that are illegal according to international law. This must include action to ensure that Israel stops the building of settlements, reverses any annexation, ends the occupation of the West Bank, ceases the blockade of Gaza, brings down the Wall and respects the right of refugees to return to their homes under international law.” Add your name here
  • ONLINE EVENT: Labour Women Speak Up for Palestine. Monday March 14th, 18:30. Register here // Share & invite here // Retweet here to spread the word.

    With: live link from Palestine with Samia Al-Botmeh, Birzeit University. Plus: Ryvka Barnard, Deputy Director, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Beth Winter MP, Kim Johnson MP, Gemma Bolton, Labour NEC member, Christine Blower, Labour peer + representatives of ASLEF, UNISON, Unite the Union & Labour & Palestine.

    An online event in the run up to Labour Women’s Conference 2022. Free event. Open to all.

    Organised by Labour & Palestine. Kindly streamed by Arise Festival.

Image: Creator: Montecruz Foto, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

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