Egypt has deported nearly 100 Gaza-bound activists, en route to Gaza for International Woman's day. Egypt controls the Rafah border crossing into Gaza
Anti-Israel activists Mairead Maguire and Medea Benjamin were deported earlier this week. Additionally, eleven women were sent back to Istanbul, 22 to Paris and six to Frankfurt. 65 activists have been deported over the past 24 hours.
There are reports of a sit-in, or perhaps a stand-in by the unclear on the concept delegates, being staged at the Cairo Airport
Why were these women heading to Gaza? Were they planning to stand in solidarity with the women of Gaza against the oppressive Hamas regime? Were they protesting polygamy, under-aged marriages, forced marriages, forced veilings, honor killings? Were they protesting the poverty and domestic violence that characterizes many women's Lives in Gaza?
“Women’s rights in Gaza are regressing. Many decisions are being passed in secret and only become public by chance, such as the decision to destroy curriculum books that are thought to be morally corrupting, in addition to the imposition of the hijab in schools and the prohibition of female participation in folklore dancing. When Hamas officials are asked about these matters, they always end up finding shallow justifications,” said feminist activist Dunia al-Amal Ismail.
Ismail contends that whenever women call for change and an improvement in their social situation, they are asked to put their demands on hold under the pretext that it is not the right time; the people are fighting the Israeli occupation. Ismail, however, notes dangerous changes being made by the government pertaining to the endorsement of the penal code without informing the feminist movement. Causes like gender equality are seen as a western product and feminist movements are thought to contradict Islamic feminism. “Accusations are heaped upon the feminist movement, even though the struggle it led — on the level of amending laws and imposing quotas for women — has ushered in the participation of Hamas’ women in the legislative council,” she added...
The regression of the situation of women in the Gaza Strip is not only obvious to female activists, but it is also clear from the figures of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics for 2011. A total of 15% of families with a female majority suffer from extreme poverty in the Palestinian lands, with a rate of 20.6% in the Gaza Strip and 12.5% in the West Bank. In 2011, the unemployment rate among women reached 28.4% in the Palestinian lands compared to 13.8% in 2001.No, they weren't. This has never been about addressing the real issues that women in Gaza face. International Women's Day - any day, and every day is just another reason for groups like Code pink to bash Israel.