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55. Ms. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine) said that she had hoped to highlight positive developments for Palestinian women but could not, as their current situation remained critical and therefore required urgent action by the international community. The myriad ordeals Palestinian women faced under Israeli occupation could not be separated from issues they had to tackle as women. All aspects of daily life in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, had deteriorated in the past year, mainly due to the Israeli occupation and the intensification of Israeli policies against the population. Palestinian women had borne the brunt of the dire humanitarian crisis in the territory, especially in the Gaza Strip, and had been severely affected by the systematic human rights violations committed by Israel. Their right to life, to return to their homes and property, to food, livelihood, housing, education, health, development and freedom of movement had been consistently breached by Israel in the most violent and brutal manner. Unbearable human suffering continued in the Gaza Strip as a result of the Israeli military aggression launched in 2008, in which more than 1,400 people — including hundreds of innocent women and children — had been brutally killed and 5,500 injured. Gross human rights violations committed against Palestinian civilians by Israel had compounded the grave impact of the ongoing illegal blockade of Gaza. The humanitarian, socio-economic and psychological condition of Palestinian women therefore remained very difficult.
56. Life in the West Bank also remained intolerable. Among other things, the construction of illegal settlements and the apartheid wall, home demolitions and settler terror against innocent Palestinians continued to have vicious consequences for the advancement and empowerment of Palestinian women.
57. Since 1967, some 25 per cent of the total Palestinian population had been detained. Although men were most often those imprisoned by Israel, it was the women who bore the social and financial cost and added responsibility in caring for their families.
58. All Palestinian women strove to live in an independent, free and democratic Palestine in which they could focus more on their advancement, equality and empowerment. However, they could not achieve their goals alone. She therefore called on the international community to compel Israel to end its occupation. Only then could Palestinian women fulfil their personal dreams and their aspiration to live in their own state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
59. Mr. Tommo Monthe (Cameroon), Chair, took the Chair.
The meeting rose at 6.10 p.m.
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Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.