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Gaza women face problems after leaving Israeli jails
Published Monday 18/03/2013 (updated) 27/04/2013 21:08
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GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Despite the warm reception and celebrations female prisoners receive in Gaza after being released from Israeli jails, many face social and familial difficulties upon returning to normal life.

In many cases, ex-female prisoners either get divorced or remain single into old age if unmarried.

Wafaa al-Bis, an ex-prisoner from Gaza, was detained in 2005 and sentenced to 12 years for allegedly planning an operation against Israel.

She was released after seven years and told Ma'an she suffers from marginalization, exclusion and degrading treatment.

"Our society views freed female prisoners as women who were raped. My question is whether they think female prisoners were raped willingly or raped while their hands were cuffed" she told Ma'an.

Wafaa has third degree burns from a past accident and complains that it is hard for her to get medical treatment which ex-prisoners are entitled to.

"I can't obtain the very basic rights of getting appropriate treatment as a freed prisoner," she said. She has contacted several Palestinian officials, but to no avail.

'You are a terrorist'

When Fatima al-Ziq began taking part in resistance activities she was married and had eight children.

She was arrested while pregnant, and gave birth in jail. Upon her release, she said all doors were closed on her and she had to beg for her rights.

"We do not seek anybody’s gratitude and praise even though we spent the prime of our youth in jail defending our homeland. However, we hope doors will not be shut to us as strugglers who fought on the front-lines."

Zahiyya Nofal was imprisoned for three years on charges of possessing weapons and helping resistance fighters. She was arrested when she was only 16, and upon being released her parents arranged for her to marry a Bedouin man.

Despite giving birth to two children, when her husband learned that she had been in jail he began to assault her on a daily basis and called her a "terrorist."

He filed for divorce and denied her access to her children, she said.

Given the attitude by many towards ex-female prisoners, Ruab Rajoubi decided to abstain from marriage. She was jailed for three years on charges of assisting fighters in 1996.

She said many families are "embarrassed" that their female relatives were in jail.

Dala Abu Qamar agrees that life is difficult after leaving jail. She agreed to be a second wife after she was freed in 1982. She was affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

"Nobody will propose to a freed prisoner, due to the degrading view. I paid a heavy toll for the sacrifices I made toward my homeland. I was divorced after I gave birth to two children."

Over the last 45 years, an estimated 10,000 Palestinian women have been detained under Israeli military orders, Addameer says.

As of Sept. 1, 2012, 7 Palestinian women were incarcerated in Israel's detention centers and prisons.

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1 ) Palestinians must / Come together
18/03/2013 20:03
Im lost for words, ive studied for a longtime and learned that in 1947,48. Jewish women went into villages along with the men to kill innocent natives in their beds,using knifes,guns etc. they (jewish women)still commit terrorism on innocent natives,its well known. Palestinian women have every right under int. law to resist ill. Occupation and should not be discarded for defending their homeland.

2 ) Maureen / Australia
18/03/2013 21:32
All the women living in such extreme circumstances have survived much that men could not. God chose women to give birth to male and female and gave them strength to endure... society cannot close God's door to any woman!

3 ) Abdulla / freedom from religion
19/03/2013 03:29
the apprtion of arab females would countiued until freedom of speech would be acceptable in their countries.

4 ) johnny benson / usa
19/03/2013 03:31
...terrible treatment.....her husband is a complete jerk

5 ) Dubner / US
19/03/2013 05:06
@1: During War of Independence , women-soldiers were part of Israel Defence Forces and fought valiantly against armed Arab militia and soldiers. All references to "innocent natives" is BS Arab propaganda propmoted by Arab media and their sympathizers. The difference between treatment of Jewish and Arab females is their respective cultures. Israeli laws and Jewish culture promotes gender equality and respect, while Arab culture" is based on Muslim Sharia laws with extremely defined roles for fema

6 ) Julie / USA
19/03/2013 06:58
there is NO excuse for treating these women so poorly. it is appalling, disturbing and downright vicious to treat them this way. i hope these women can come together to strengthen & empower their lives, and re-educate the ignorant people, especially the men whose cruel abusive behavior is lower than animals.

7 ) Bitchwatch / Iran
19/03/2013 08:00
So, Wafaa Al-Bis, who was prevented from blowing herself up in an Israeli hospital which she was attending for medical treatment, complains that ... she can't "obtain the very basic rights of getting appropriate treatment". You couldn't make it up.

8 ) Zainab / UK
19/03/2013 13:54
The treatment of these women is against 'true' Islamic teaching & would be against the teachings of other Abrahamic faiths too. In most societies, ex prisoners are not well thought of & find rehabilitation hard. What makes these womens case harder is that they have lived their lives in 'extreme' circumstances & have thereby become a product of the society in which they live. Islam does teach gender equality, but there needs to be an understanding of this & a shift away from mere cultural thought

9 ) Outsider / EU
19/03/2013 14:49
One word: wow (in a bad way).

10 ) KO / GAZA
19/03/2013 17:15
I'm sorry to say that I find this very hard to believe. Living here I have never heard of such treatment against freed female prisoners, rather the contrary. Getting married is very simple here due to the large population in a small space, and for these honorable women (as they are rightfully seen in Gaza) will hopefully not find any trouble getting married, especially since the government supplies them a regular salary and accommodation and tries to help them in anyway possible.

11 ) Deir / Yassin
19/03/2013 17:58
# 5 your wrong,do some real research. Israeli historians will even tell you,truthfull ones like (Pappe).

12 ) gabi / australia
20/03/2013 04:55
# 4 - having worked in family law here in Australia for many years, I can tell you that there are many husbands who are complete jerks! Good Ol' Aussies and non-Anglos alike.

13 ) Colin Wright / USA
20/03/2013 07:02
To Dubner #5. Your post doesn't even merit rebuttal.

14 ) Mel / USA
20/03/2013 09:53
@#2 ''society cannot close God's door to any woman!'' Yes they can in Gaza, yes they do in Gaza.

15 ) Maureen / Australia
20/03/2013 19:52
#14 Mel, there is no middle man between a person and God, Mel. I don't mean to preach, but it is the inner strength that comes from knowing God is above man made laws and bigots that gives the ability to sustain.

16 ) William Scanlon / USA
22/03/2013 13:53
Until all of us as Muslims put aside our bias and come together as one body protecting the rights of all including women and live our faith as our Holy Prophet,all blessings be upon him,has instructed us then nothing will change. United we shall stand against all enemies including the Zionists.Divided by bias against Muslim women we will fall and fail. The Qur’an explains Muslim morality in these words: ...To be one of those who believe and urge each other to steadfastness and urge each other.

17 ) Sherri Munnerlyn / US
25/03/2013 11:08
WHAT you see is how an oppressed society responds to oppression. THE cause of all of this is the Oppression, the Occupation! Men take out frustrations on women, and I expect women take out frustrations on children!

18 ) carl / us
02/04/2013 18:59
Ya blame all palestinian problem on occupation, was Palestine a utopian society before Israel was there? Women terrorists are the same as male terrorists, its not resistance its terrorism.

19 ) john / usa
05/04/2013 00:58
To #1, #11 and #13, you are wrong and #5 is correct. The fact that #11 uses Prof Pappe as a proof for his arguement is the best proof that you are wrong. Prof Pappe is well known. Look up what Prof Plaut had to say about Prof Pappe. There is a reason that he left Israel. While no military has not had issues, nevertheless, the IDF has one of the best records when it comes to morals and ethics.

20 ) dehamdiya / was
05/04/2013 08:10
waking up having 3D live and not just the picture is terrorism

21 ) Mel / Gaza
07/04/2013 15:04
I'm seriously shocked. I didn't realise that female ex-prisoners have such a hard time!

22 ) Deir / Yassin
10/04/2013 20:25
#19 john .. Plaut ....lol .he is a Terrorist. A really hateful person.look at the Mondoweiss story had on him

23 ) Hebron Massacre 1929 / USA
21/05/2013 00:37
Is it possible that the assumption in the arab world is that a woman dishonored her family becomes a suicide bombing terrorist to avoid an honor killing? Since she falied in her murderous suicide attempt, she is still a disgrace.

24 ) Jaffa massacre 1936 / USA
21/05/2013 00:46
Wafaa al-Bis claimed she was sick so that she could receive a permit to receive treatment at Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheba Israel. She planned on blowing herself up in a waiting room of sick women and children. Anyone who condiders Wafaa al-Bis a hero has the sickest most warped mind. And Gaza deserves her.
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