Today, Gaza Strip enters its eighth year under siege. Gaza is considered the most populated area in the world (more than 4,500 people per square Kilometer). This led to lack of job opportunities and basic needs including food, water, and cut of electricity for many years. Also, it resulted in increasing unemployment rate which reached 41% in Gaza Strip. Continuation of siege resulted also in spread of diseases, and inability to provide medicine and medical treatment.
There is no doubt that women in Gaza Strip do not live in isolation of the political, social and economic situations. Palestinian women live in tragic situations, and their status is not different from men, because of political division, siege, and redundant aggression against Gaza Strip. Women pay the price and bear the results for loss of husbands, sons, and brothers. Thus, they are required to run and manage the affairs of the family. Last aggression on Gaza resulted in 800 widows who lost their husbands. A large number of them became the heads of their families. This increased the deterioration of the economic situation and poverty, where women constitute the largest portion of the poor.
During the last several years, women in Gaza Strip worked on productive initiatives to overcome the harsh economic situation, in order to support their families. Women tried to market their products outside Gaza Strip in order to break the siege on one hand, and to increase their financial income on the other hand. They wanted to make a statement regarding the policies of siege and exclusion imposed on them.
WATC strived through its work with women during the past years to support the participation of women in all fields, in order to break the siege, challenge the difficult circumstances, and overcome these circumstances which weakens participation of women, and affects their role in society.
WATC is concerned to support and assist women members of cooperative societies, through adopting and implementing the idea of marketing their products in the West Bank, and by bringing those products and selling them in the markets of the West Bank, as well as displaying them in big shopping centers. However, we faced a challenge during our attempts to break the policy of the Israeli occupation, specifically the prohibition of transporting food products outside Gaza Strip. This affects the rights of women to have a dignified economic life for them and for their families. This policy affects the activities of cooperatives. It is a real obstacle against the economic development of women, who suffer from violence, marginalization, and harsh economic and social situations imposed by the occupation authorities for many years.
Accordingly, WTAC is launching a media campaign to put pressure in order to bring products of cooperatives from Gaza Strip and market them in the West Bank and break the siege against the products of cooperatives. The campaign aims at raising again the cause of the siege against Gaza Strip, and its devastating impact and reflection on the status of the Palestinian women.
The demands of our campaign “My Right and My Children's Right to The Market of My Country”:
1. Work towards ending the siege against Gaza Strip
2. Work towards bringing the products of cooperatives from Southern Governorates to the West Bank
3. Call the Higher Commissioner of Human Rights to assume his role, and put pressure in order to lift the siege imposed against Gaza Strip.
4. Put pressure on international human rights organizations to ensure the rights of Palestinians in their land and their freedom of movement and travel, to include their right to market their products and goods.