On Wednesday, March 8th, I experienced International Womens Day (IWD) near Jerusalem. 120 women gathered at Ar Ram checkpoint. We marched from Ar Ram checkpoint to Qalandiya checkpoint which isn’t too far away. It is staggering how close together these two permanent checkpoints are. The rally was a fairly quiet one. Mid march the women stood lined up against the Apartheid wall. When we marched to Qalandiya we recieved a very possitive reaction from all the Palestinians women and men walking out of the check point.
Amongst the women there appeared to be a fair mix of Israeli’s and Palestinian women, as well as internationals. The proportions difficult to calculate give the number of Palestinian women without head coverings that could have been Israeli’s (and vice versa). Needless to say that it was a real melting pot of women, old, young, alternative and conservative appearances. Apparently many of the Israeli activists who would have liked to attend were participating in another IWD demonstration in Nazareth.
The rally was organised by the Jerusalem Centre for Women (JCW). There were placards throughout the rally in Hebrew, Arabic and English with slogans like ‘War means unemployment,’ ‘Dismantle the settlments NOW,’ ‘House Demolitions Violate Women,’ etc. The rally also had many placards particularly reflecting the politics of the Jerusalem Centre For women with the words “Jerusalem two capitals for two states.’