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Speaking to the US congress in May, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu boasted that his country is a beacon of freedom in the Middle East and North Africa, that it is the only place where Arabs "enjoy real democratic rights".
Jerusalem is a city blessed but also cursed by its own holiness. No more so than here at 'Ground Zero', the religious epicentre within the walled Old City, beneath the most disputed holy site -- the Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary as known to Muslims, Har Habayit or the Temple Mount for Jews.
Israeli troops on Saturday clashed in the occupied West Bank with Palestinian women and youths who were protesting against plans to build new homes for Jewish settlers.
An AFP correspondent said the troops fired tear gas to disperse about 200 Palestinian women and youths who gathered at the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem.
Several hundred Palestinian and Israeli women demonstrated on Saturday on each side of Israel's Qalandiya checkpoint, the main passage point between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Assembling nearly a week ahead of a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations Security Council, the women all gathered under the slogan "Women want an independent Palestine".
What inspired you to begin photographing Palestinian women activists?
Male leaders fail to break the Mideast impasse. Enter women from Israel and the Palestinian territories working together. And… it would have been nice to say they succeeded where the men failed.
They didn't. The women have been ahead of the times, in speaking of solutions others thought unmentionable once, but now increasingly accept. And yet, peace seems more difficult than ever.
The tri-lateral women's group, consisting of Palestinian women, Israeli women and female political leaders from around the world, was founded in 2005 under the auspices of UNIFEM in New York. Its mission was to implement and strengthen U.N.
An Arab woman who's been toiling on the fringes of Israeli politics for nearly two decades has broken out of obscurity in this year's election with a nonconformist message that's resonating with protest voters.
The message of the Daam Party is as unconventional as its leader, Asma Aghbaria-Zahalka.
In her office at the Bethlehem women's counselling centre, Khawla Al-Azraq recounts her memories from Israeli prison as vividly as if they were yesterday: the routine physical and psychological abuse, the nightly room searches, the hunger strikes and other collective actions in protest against their conditions, and the intense study sessions with her fellow prisoners.
Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, with its ubiquitous closures, checkpoints, military raids and arrests, has decimated the Palestinian economy in the West Bank and Gaza.
Does the incorporation of women in formal peace processes pose a threat to the possible achievements of women's grassroots peace organizations in the transition from conflict to peace? Should women insist on joining formal peace negotiations, or maintain feminist resistance from outside?
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics says more than 7,000 Palestinians are currently held under life-threatening conditions in Israeli prisons.
In the run up to the Palestinian Prisoners Day, scheduled for Saturday, the office issued a statement in which it condemned the continued detention of 34 Palestinian women and 270 child prisoners.
Sami Awad is wrapping up a day of training with Palestinian women leaders in Bethlehem, another step in the effort not only to empower women, but to extend the concept and practice of non-violent popular resistance.
In February 2003, the Tel Aviv-based Hotline for Migrant Workers (HMW) published a report titled, "Modern Slavery and Trafficking in Human Beings in Israel," saying:
IN ISRAEL, MURDER OF WOMEN IN WHAT ARE REFERRED to as “killings to protect the family's honor” account for the majority of homicides among Arab citizens. These murders are carried out by relatives of the victims, or their proxies, because of some perceived transgression by the women of gendered social norms.
Last Thursday the Blount County Women in Black celebrated a bittersweet milestone.
Hannah Safran and Ola Shtiwi
April 26, 7-9 p.m.
The Community Church
40 E. 35th Street (between Madison and Park Avenues)