28 September, 2009 — Palestinian Center for Human Rights Ref: 43/2009
In conjunction with the presentation of the UN Fact Finding Mission’s report to the Human Rights Council on 29 September, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) release ‘Through Women’s Eyes: A PCHR Report on the Gender-Specific Impact and Consequences of Operation Cast Lead’.
The Israeli offensive claimed the lives of 118 women, and injured at least 825 more. However, although the numbers of victims and casualties illustrate the appalling human toll of this conflict, the true extent of the suffering lies in the day-to-day reality of life in the Gaza Strip following Operation Cast Lead, as civilians struggle to rebuild their lives, come to terms with their loss, and restore some semblance of human dignity.
PCHR has released ‘Through Women’s Eyes’ in order to highlight the gender-specific impact of Operation Cast Lead and the illegal Israeli closure. As a result of the patriarchal nature of Palestinian society, women in the Gaza Strip – victims of ‘peacetime’ discrimination – are particularly susceptible to the marginalization, poverty, and suffering brought about as a result of armed conflict and occupation. Israeli attacks result in often ignored gender-specific consequences. PCHR has chosen to allow these consequences, and the reality of life after the offensive, unfold through the victims words; although this report is necessarily grounded in international law, it is perhaps fitting that human rights, and human suffering, are expressed through human stories.
This report presents the cases of 12 women affected by Israeli attacks over the course of Operation Cast Lead. These examples are intended to demonstrate the extent of the suffering inflicted on the individual civilians of the Gaza Strip, and the continuing difficulties they face as a result of the devastation wrought by Israeli forces and the ongoing illegal closure.
‘Through Women’s Eyes’ highlights the difficulties women in the Gaza Strip face as they attempt to come to terms with their grief and their injuries; with the loss of their children, their husbands, their relatives, their homes, and their livelihoods. These narratives are illustrative, not only of the trials faced by women in the Gaza Strip, but of the resilience and strength they have demonstrated over 42 years of conflict and occupation.
‘Through Women’s Eyes’ is release as a continuation of PCHR’s work documenting human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory. With respect to Operation Cast Lead, in May PCHR released ‘War Crimes Against Children’ a report on the killing of 318 children, while earlier this month ‘Targeted Civilians’ PCHR’s comprehensive report on the offensive was released in Arabic; it will be available in English shortly.