The Palestinian Hamas terror movement recently banned Palestinians living under its control in the Gaza Strip from celebrating International Women’s Day. Hamas dismissed a decision by the Palestinian Authority (PA) government in the West Bank to give all civil servants a day off on this occasion, arguing that International Women’s Day was a “Western and foreign” event that is incompatible with Islamic traditions and teachings.
The Islamic movement also issued a warning to all public and private institutions in the Gaza Strip, including schools and universities, to refrain from marking the occasion.
Hamas’s decision drew sharp criticism from many Palestinians, especially women’s groups and human rights organizations, as well as the Palestinian Authority. The critics maintained that the ban was a sign of Hamas’s disrespect for women and their contribution to Palestinian society.
The General Union of Palestinian Workers issued a statement in which it condemned Hamas’s refusal to acknowledge and honor the role of Palestinian women. The statement said that Palestinian women have made huge sacrifices and contributed remarkably to the Palestinian labor force and the development of society.
The Hamas ban also angered many Palestinian men, who expressed outrage over the “humiliation” of Palestinian women. Fathi Tbail, a leading Palestinian journalist, commented: “I will celebrate International Women’s Day, whether you (Hamas) like it or not. All you represent is retardation!”
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