Beit Jala (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – Hundreds of bereaved Palestinian and Israeli women marched through the West Bank on Friday against the Israeli occupation, in an International Women’s Day event.
Around 200 women marched to two military bases, with some carrying banners reading “End the occupation” or “Our tears are one colour”.
The Parents Circle Families Forum brings together families of those killed in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict and includes more than 600 families.
Robi Damelin, an Israeli woman whose son was killed near Ramallah in 2002, lit a candle in honour of the many victims of the conflict.
“My son was a reserve Israeli army officer, and before he was summoned he was doing a master’s degree at Tel Aviv University,” she said.
He was killed in the West Bank in 2002 by a Palestinian sniper in a famous incident in which 10 Israelis were killed.
“I wrote several letters to my son’s killer saying I wanted to meet him. He sent me one which said he was willing to meet me, but the authorities have prevented it,” she told AFP, calling on the Israeli government to make peace.
Some Israeli settlers in the area insulted the women from their cars, telling them to go to Syria.
Palestinian Bushra Awad, 45, lost her 17-year-old son Mahmoud in 2008.
“I joined the forum because I am trying not to lose any another son,” she said.
Suha abu Khdeir, whose son Mohammed was burned alive by Jewish settlers in July 2014, also addressed the women.
“I can’t sleep at night — every day it’s me who’s burning because of what happened to my son,” she said.
The women also demolished a wall symbolising the barrier that snakes through the occupied West Bank.