Women in Palestine are already so limited to the resources and tools they need when it comes to labor and delivery. Despite the already known oppression and maltreatment of Palestinians carried out by the IOF, our most recent point in discussion of injustice and humanitarian issues in Palestine is the belittlement of women detained and held as prisoners by the IOF.
It is important to recognize and discuss that all people detained and held prisoners by the IOF have more than likely carried out very miniscule “misdemeanors” such talking back to an Israeli soldier, walking home from work or school, and being deemed “suspicious,’ or even just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Palestinians that cold heartedly get put away with no valid reason are left to deal with harsh treatment from the IOF. They are not able to speak to their loved ones, they are uncertain of how long they are going to be detained, and they are left with unanswered questions with reference to when they well be given a court hearing and how they can prepare for it. Ultimately, the goal of the matter is to detain those have been taken to prison for as long as possible to prove that the IOF is superior and in the utmost power.
Over the years of oppression, many detained pregnant Palestinian women have been arrested. Some were released prior to their delivery, some lost their babies in the process of delivering in prison, and some even underwent induced abortions. From the moment pregnant women are detained by the IOF they face cruel conditions such as malnutrition, improper medical care, and intolerable living conditions.
There has been more than 10 Palestinian women who were forced to give birth in prison. The first pregnant Palestinian prisoner to give birth alone in her jail cell was Zakiyya Shammot. Zakiyya was overlooked by those in charge of the prison and dismissed when she was in full labor alone in her cell. After enduring a traumatic experience of having to deliver her baby all alone. Zakiyya gave birth to her daughter Nadia in 1972 and then was immediately subjected to 12 life sentences of brutal torture.
Some of the many women who experienced such preganancy trauma in detainment under the IOF are:
2003, Manal Ghanim- faced a miscarriage due to severe torture by the IOF.
2007, Fatima Al Ziq- was tortured while knowingly pregnant.
2021 Ahar Al Diq- imprisoned at 4 months pregnant and is now due to give birth in prison.
Anhar Al-Diqs story is painstaking to hear. When asked why she was imprisoned in the first place, it was said, an Israeli settler claims that she allegedly claimed she was going to stab a woman in his community. With no proof or any ground to back up the credibility of this claim, the IOF has held her in prison with no timeline of how or when she will be released. With one child at home, and another baby on the way, Anhar is a very disheartening situation. She is to give birth any day now without the support and care of her loved ones all because of an allegation made against her in which there is no proof to regard as a valid reason for her being in her current situation.
Women in Palestine deserve better. Innocent women who are being held as prisoners by the IOF are treated very poorly regardless of if they are pregnant or not. There is not one valid reason as to way these women deserve/deserved to suffer through their pregnancies. In the United States when pregnant women incarcerated in U.S. prisons are transferred to a hospital for delivery, they are often shackled to the bed by the ankles and wrists and may also be restrained around the abdomen. This is a basic human right that the IOF does not offer to the women they senselessly take into prison. What will it take for Palestinians to be treated with basic human rights under the Israeli Occupation?