Author: Samar Hazboun/ Muftah
Areen Awad Shuaibat
This picture was taken just hours after Areen was released from her 8-year imprisonment in an Israeli prison. Areen was arrested for attempting a suicide attack with an explosive belt around her waist. She retreated from the attack at the last minute. During her years in Israeli jail, Areen was prohibited from receiving any letters or visitors. She was tortured several times, sprayed with gas and pursued by aggressive dogs unleashed on her during her torture sessions.
Israel has detained 12,000 Palestinian women since 1967. About 850 women have been arrested since the beginning of the second Intifada in 2000. In addition, there are 20 young women below the age of 18 who are currently incarcerated in Israeli jails and who are forced to share cells with adults.
Abeer sits in her living room among many beautiful handmade pieces of traditional Palestinian embroidery that she refuses to sell in protest against the fact that Palestinian embroidery is currently being sold under the Israeli tag, “I prefer to drown in my own embroidery than to sell it under the name of Israel” she says proudly. “It is the last thing left for us, we must not sell out our culture and heritage to the ones who are stealing it from us.”
Fatima is from the refugee camp Al-Dheisheh, where she lives with her family. In this image, she is holding photos of her imprisoned sons, one of whom had been released but suffers sever mental disorders due to brutal torture and rape while in an Israeli prison.
But her son is not the only member of the family to suffer severe mental illness as a result of the Israeli occupation. When the Israeli soldiers broke into Fatima’s house at 2 am, her daughter was struck dumb by shock, and, until this very day, does not speak.
Duha is an athlete who represents Palestine in the long jump. Whenever Duha travels abroad, she gets the impression that Westerners view Palestinian women as uncivilized and look down on them as inferior because of their nationality. The occupation affects Duha continuously, as she does not have the freedom of movement to travel as she wishes and as her career demands, which puts her under great psychological pressure.
Through football, Aya found the means to represent Palestine and Palestinian women. She believes that by representing her country through sports Palestinian society will learn to accept women as equal players. Aya hopes for a better playground. Her football dress is a charity contribution from UNICEF. Aya’s father, who has six daughters, is her biggest supporter and regularly joins her at trainings.