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  • Writer's pictureMuskaan Kapur

Unveiling the Silent Struggle: Palestinian Women Amidst Conflict and Crisis

Amidst the war, Palestinian women are enduring a silent struggle, grappling with the collapse of healthcare, sanitation challenges, and escalating violence.


In the heart of the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Palestinian women find themselves at the epicenter of a humanitarian crisis, as highlighted by alarming statistics from the United Nations. In a war ostensibly targeting Hamas, two-thirds of the casualties are women and children, exposing the unique challenges faced by Palestinian women living under constant attack. This article delves into the difficulties they endure, the stark realities presented by UN reports, and explores the global response—or lack thereof—to the plight of these women.


Two Palestinian women sitting in the rubble of a collapsed building amidst the war with their children.

Picture credits - Motaz Azaiza


The United Nations reports paint a distressing picture, revealing that Israeli strikes in Gaza claim the lives of two mothers every hour, alongside seven women in every 2 hours. The devastating impact on pregnant women is particularly egregious, with 50,000 expecting mothers, including 5,000 due to give birth within a month, grappling with the absence of painkillers, anesthesia, and basic medical necessities. Compounding their plight, the scarcity of incubators poses life-threatening risks to newborns, while the mixing of baby food with contaminated water adds a layer of tragedy to the already dire situation.


The long-term consequences on society's functioning are profound, as the survival of an ongoing genocide leaves an indelible mark. The ongoing conflict has ravaged Gaza's healthcare infrastructure, leaving hospitals overwhelmed and essential services in disarray. This collapse has severe implications for Palestinian women who require medical attention, especially during pregnancies and childbirth. The absence of functional hospitals, medical supplies, and qualified healthcare professionals exacerbates the already precarious conditions, putting the lives of women at greater risk.


In Palestinian society, women traditionally play a central role as caregivers for their families. However, the collapse of the healthcare system places an unprecedented burden on women as they attempt to fulfill their caregiving responsibilities amidst the chaos. The absence of accessible medical facilities, medications, and adequate prenatal care heightens the challenges faced by women trying to ensure the well-being of their families.


The breakdown of infrastructure extends beyond healthcare to impact basic sanitation facilities, including access to clean water and proper sanitation methods. Palestinian women, already navigating the complexities of conflict, now face heightened challenges related to maintaining menstrual hygiene, exacerbating health risks and adding a layer of indignity to their daily lives.


The breakdown of services and prevention mechanisms has led to a disturbing escalation of sexual violence in Gaza. With an environment of pervasive insecurity and the absence of protective measures, women are increasingly vulnerable to assault. The inability to access support services, counseling, and medical assistance further compounds the trauma endured by survivors, perpetuating a cycle of suffering.


Within Palestinian society, women hold central roles as mothers, sisters, and daughters. Yet, the ongoing conflict has subjected them to dehumanization and the denial of existence. This systematic devaluation is a deliberate affront to the very core of Palestinian identity, as women continue to navigate the complexities of survival and resilience amidst unimaginable adversity.


As the world bears witness to this silent struggle, the question arises: What is the world saying or doing about it? The global response must extend beyond mere rhetoric to concrete actions. Humanitarian aid, diplomatic interventions, and international solidarity are imperative to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian women. Their central role in society demands urgent attention and a commitment to preserving their dignity, safety, and well-being.


As the healthcare system crumbles in the midst of conflict, Palestinian women face a myriad of challenges that extend beyond the immediate threats of violence. The collapse of medical services, coupled with traditional roles as caregivers, compounds the difficulties faced by women trying to protect their families. The lack of sanitation facilities and the escalation of sexual violence add layers of complexity to an already dire situation. Urgent international attention and action are essential to address these pressing issues, providing support for women in Gaza and working towards rebuilding a healthcare infrastructure that ensures their well-being, safety, and dignity.


Palestinian women find themselves caught in the crossfire of conflict, facing unparalleled challenges as caregivers, survivors, and pillars of strength. The world's response to their plight must be resolute, translating empathy into meaningful actions that address the immediate needs of these women and pave the way for a just and lasting resolution to the broader conflict. In acknowledging their struggles, we acknowledge the shared responsibility to advocate for peace, justice, and the preservation of human dignity.

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