Gisha Executive Director: It is hard to imagine anything more beneficial for a society undergoing change and upheaval than women’s empowerment.

Who is bothered by the silencing of women’s rights activists in Gaza? Photo: From the game Safe Passage: spg.org.ilAugust 26, 2012. Gisha Executive Director Sari Bashi wrote an op-ed for Haaretz about the link between Andaleeb Shehadeh and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Eitan Dangot. Shehadeh is a women’s rights activist who lives in the Gaza Strip and wants to complete a degree in gender studies at Birzeit University in the West Bank. In response to a petition filed by Shehadeh and four other students to the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on this issue, Dangot said he would not retract his refusal to allow the students to travel to the West Bank “due to weighty security and political considerations”.

From the op-ed:
In his answer to the High Court of Justice, Maj. Gen. Dangot claimed that he could only state the weighty security and political reasons for depriving Shahada of the right to a Master’s degree, which would help her improve the status of women in Gaza, in a closed session and without her attorney present. Is he doing this in order to weaken the Hamas regime? It does not seem to me that Hamas would be upset over the silencing of women’s rights activists in Gaza. Is the goal to stop the rocket fire? Research shows that empowering women in a society decreases militarism within it (as Israeli women’s rights activists know well). Is there a general fear of regional instability?

It is hard to imagine anything more beneficial for a society undergoing change and upheaval than women’s empowerment.

For the full op-ed