GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Activists from a number of women's organizations in the Gaza Strip took part in a rally on Saturday to mark International Women's Day.
Protesters called upon the international community to end Israeli violations of Palestinian women's rights and to pressure Israel to lift the siege of the Gaza Strip, in a march that began at the Square of the Unknown Soldier and ended at the office of the United Nations.
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member Mariam Abu Diqa said that Palestinian women struggle for the freedom of their nation, the end of internal divisions between Palestinian political parties, and for full equality for women and men in both rights and duties.
Public relations coordinator for the Union of Health Work Committees Haneen Washah, meanwhile, called for international solidarity with Palestinian women, who she said "have a role in the struggle that cannot be ignored."
Washah also called upon the international community to stand with Palestinian female prisoners who are denied their rights in Israeli prison.
Amjad Shawa, coordinator of a network of NGOs in the Gaza Strip, said that Palestinian women suffer due to the continuation of the Israeli siege and the worsening rates of unemployment. He called for serious and effective intervention to end the tragedy facing the Gaza Strip's 1.5 million residents, who he highlighted were mostly women.
The march was originally scheduled to include approximately 80 women from a number of foreign countries, including the celebrated Algerian revolutionary Djamila Bouhired and Northern Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire.
Egyptian authorities, however, prevented the solidarity delegation from reaching the Gaza Strip.
The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by the State of Israel with Egyptian support since 2006.
The blockade was imposed following the victory of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections and the subsequent 2007 clashes between Fatah and Hamas, which left Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of the West Bank.
The blockade has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans.