Blockade Impact on Gaza’s Women to Be Probed by Knesset Committee

A meeting on the impact of Israel’s blockade on Gaza’s women, which Chairwoman of the Committee for of the Advancement of the Status of Women and Gender Equality, Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), scheduled for today, Monday, June 4, has sparked outrage among Zionist MKs.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and other lawmakers oppose the committee chairwoman’s intention to hold a discussion on the status of women in the Gaza Strip.

The discussions are expected to focus on the difficulties of Palestinian women who suffer from cancer and need to leave Gaza for urgent medical treatment. According to Touma-Sliman, MKs opposed the debate without checking what topics were on the agenda before calling for its cancellation. Touma-Sliman said, “Everyone knows that those who allow or prevent a cancer patient from Gaza from getting treatment are the Israeli authorities – meaning Shin Bet and the Defense Ministry. To come and ask us what we have to do with the matter is an attempt at being coy… The reality is what proves to us, in the hard way, the connection between the status of women in Israel and Gaza.”

Touma-Sliman further responded to criticism from Zionist MKs saying, “My political views are known, but I believe that there is broad consensus about the importance of involving women in the political dialogue… Therefore, I find it particularly unfortunate that members of the committee oppose an important and necessary political discussion in our committee. As usual, it will be held in a professional manner and allow all opinions to be heard.”

According to Touma-Sliman, “The struggle for peace is a feminist struggle that will ensure the security of the residents of Israel and the rights of the Palestinian people. The Committee for the Advancement of Women under my leadership will continue to deal with all issues related to women, especially those who are disempowered.”

Related: Report by Physicians for Human Rights