What Harriet Sherwood won’t report: Hamas police beat peaceful female protesters in Gaza

On March 8, the Guardian published “International Women’s Day highlights hurdles obstructing women, (co-authored by 12 Guardian correspondents, including the paper’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood), on the subjugation of women around the world.

Sherwood’s contribution, on the abrogation of women’s rights in the region she covers, didn’t mention female genital mutilationhonor killings , an endemic culture of misogyny, nor the impunity granted to men who physically and sexually abuse their spouses, throughout in Gaza and the PA.

Harriet Sherwood not only ignored the egregious violation of womens’ rights in the Palestinian territories, but, instead, devoted 118 words to the alleged injustice meted out to a female Palestinian terrorist affiliated with Islamic Jihad held in an Israeli jail named Hana Shalabi.

So, it’s not surprising that neither Sherwood, nor any of her Guardian colleagues, have reported the following about an incident in Gaza on Nov. 6:

Hamas police violently attacked a group of women who were peacefully protesting on Tuesday in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza. The women were calling for Palestinian reconciliation and sent a request to protest to Hamas which was ignored. Using sticks and batons, Hamas police attacked the women and dispersed the protest.

Another report included the following information:

The protest, organized by women’s organizations including the general union of Palestinian women, was held outside the parliament building.

Iktimal Hamad, a member of the union’s secretariat, told Ma’an that police ordered protesters to leave the area.

“Women refused to leave, because this is a right for every human being to express their opinions and demand their rights,” Hamad told Ma’an.

“We were verbally insulted and hit by fists and sticks. Police tried to arrest some of us but despite that we will continue with our campaign which calls for ending the division,” she added.

Journalist Samya al-Zubeidi said female police officers hit her and ordered her to stop filming.

“They beat me up, in addition to female police officers, (male) police officers also attacked women protesters,” al-Zubeidi told Ma’an.

Interestingly, a Gulf News report on the incident quoted a Fatah spokesperson condemning the attack on Gazan women, thus:

Hamas’ violent attack against the women gives the entire Palestinian population a bad reputation internationally,”

However, any negative publicity for the Palestinian cause in response to the beating of peaceful female protesters in Gaza could only be created if “liberal” media institutions such as the Guardian actually reported the story.