It’s May 15 today and May 15 is the day Palestinians call Al Nakba. 65 years ago, the creation of the state of Israel implied the displacement of thousands of Palestinians who left their homes and were forced to settle elsewhere. It led to the physical separation of Palestinians across the region – to refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, to the West Bank, to Gaza, to Jerusalem – which continues today, aggravated by movement restrictions, discrimination, housing demolitions, closure and siege.
The political division between Gaza and West Bank is but one of the more recent developments that continues to drive a stake between the Palestinians living in this case just a two hour drive apart. (The division, in brief, came when Hamas won the 2006 parliamentary elections, and concluding in their control of Gaza, and Fatah responding by claiming the West Bank.)
One of the trickiest things in working to promote women’s rights in conflict is answering the question that follows when you tell someone that conflict affects women differently. “But how, give me a specific example,” they say.
That is why I am always so happy when I come across clear and communicable examples. Like this one! The Norwegian Refugee Council recently launched a report on “shelter” (humanitarian speak for housing, basically, but simplified) in Gaza. The long and extensive report has five pages that really speak to me – and that is when women in Gaza, in plain words, explain the link between overcrowding (a cause of the destruction of homes, and inability to build as there aren’t enough materials being imported due to the siege) and gender-based violence.
Today, the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation (KTK) celebrates the 20 years anniversary of its establishment and I take this chance to express my admiration for the passion and commitment the foundation demonstrates to support women during their tough time, times of war and conflicts.
Mainly, KTK collaborates with women’s organizations who play an active part in peace and rebuilding processes, in several countries who go through conflicts and political turbulence, assuring that women are great agents of peace.
As a young lady who experienced living through a war – 1994 civil war in Yemen- I can’t stress enough on the importance of achieving peace. Wars don’t just kill people and destroy properties, it also destroy souls. In the wake of wars, what it is even more saddening is the violence that follows and unfortunately women are the ones who suffer the greatest harm.
Having said that, how can one not admire foundations such as KTK which works passionately in investing in peace!
Happy 20 years anniversary, dear KTK!
Photo: ©Kvinna till Kvinna/Sara Lüdtke