Regional Programs > Israel & Palestine > Next Story

 Letter to Ms.Mary Robinson
 The Women of WATC [Women's Affairs Technical Committee], Palestine
 October 6, 2001
Dear Ms. Mary Robinson,
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,

We, women of Palestine, chose to write to you, to express our thoughts, feelings and worries about the deteriorating political, economic and social situation, here in Palestine. We wished that by this time of year, with the Intifada entering its second year, things would have calmed down, and International efforts summoned to put an end to the injustice cause to our people, children, men and women. Unfortunately, however, the situation is deteriorating with every passing day, more innocent people getting killed by Israeli military forces and tanks, who persistently enforce a status of apartheid, placing blockades and imposing a siege around every Palestinian village, town and city.

You have personally manifested on several occasions the importance of respecting the Fourth Geneva Convention and all International treaties and declarations, which clearly state that torture and indiscriminate killings can never be justified under any circumstances, not even in time of war. We are being killed physically, emotionally and psychologically every day, and every second. We were not born to be humiliated, we were not born to be stolen from our dignity every morning. We, as women, refuse to be the victims of Israeli military verbal abuse and physical harassment when allowed to pass Israeli blockades. We refuse to bear suffering any longer, and regard it as our right to stand for our freedom, justice and independence, not only on a national level, but also on a personal and social level. We call upon you to assist in putting an end to this suffering. We are not only addressing you as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, but also as a woman, who can understand the situation of women elsewhere, especially after having visited Palestine several times, and having seen the agonies and pain our nation is undergoing. Our homes have been demolished, our fields burned, our trees uprooted, our children killed, injured and handicapped, hundreds of men and women left unemployed, and mostly our nation traumatized.

The anti-racism initiative in Durban is a first step in addressing injustice and "taboo" core issues that have always been ignored and not dared to be discussed. Whether we choose to refer to Israel's policy as racist, as an apartheid state, or as discriminatory, or whether we prefer to use other terms, we manifest that the essence of these aspects strongly exist in the Palestinian land, leaving three million Palestinians, living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, eternal victims. We agree with you that "the route to the protection of human rights lies through the conclusion of a just and durable peace," a phrase you uttered on the 17th of October 2000, while addressing the Commission on Human Rights, Fifth Special Session. We believe that a durable peace can only be sustained with the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land occupied in 1967. We are not demanding the impossible; we are demanding our rights, according to International Declarations and UN Resolutions.

We fear that the remaining solutions to our situation are being stolen, stretched, and overlooked, with International imbalance and instability overshadowing the world. We must not wait until the violence ceases, but rather envision that the violence will terminate with the termination of occupation. We feel with all victims of this world, and understand their pain, for we feel it daily in different forms. Our cause is linked to International safety, peace and balance. The cries of our children in the middle of the night, the death of women in labor at Israeli blockades, and people's loss of shelter are longtime warning signals that seem to have been ignored by most powerful parties.

We believe in peace and justice, but see it happening only through giving Palestinians their rights, allowing them to move freely, to work freely, to learn, and to enjoy life without oppression and continuous agony. In short, we are demanding that we be left alone. We don't love the atmosphere of hatred we are living in and the daily loss of lives. We demand to have our own free State that will ensure the safety, security and peace of all people living in this area.

The Women's Affairs Technical Committee
Awad Center, 2nd floor, Radio Street
P.O. Box: 2197 Ramallah, Palestine
Tel: +972 2 2987783/4 Fax: +972 2 2964746

The Women's Affairs Technical Committee is a respected Palestinian non-governmental organization devoted to the abolition of all forms of discrimination against women.