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Sameeha khaleel.. A Feminist Developmental Icon



Translated by Sabrin Qadah 

She is not an investor and did not enter the field of economy or raise funds. However today, after 18 years on her death, her developmental and charitable role is still affecting the lives of hundreds of women and needy families. She is one of the foundations of the Family Relief Association with a group of Palestinian women, which has contributed to the provision of humanitarian, social, economic and cultural services to the entire Palestinian society.

The association currently has several centers serving marginalized groups, including the Academic and Professional Center, the productive centers, the Humanitarian Aid Center and the Center for Palestinian Heritage and Society Studies. Samiha Khalil has actively contributed to the social injustice faced by Palestinian women by supporting them through institutions and associations. The educator Samiha Khalil founded in 1952 the Arab Women's Union in Al-Bireh and was its president.

In 1965, she founded the Family Relief Association and was its president throughout her life. It extended its activities to all villages and cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, providing assistance to families in need.

She is considered one of the pioneers of the Palestinian national movement, where she stood against occupation policies of racism and unjust oppression.

In 1996, she went through Palestinian presidential election as the sole rival of the late leader Yasser Arafat, but luck was not on her side. She played a clear role in the national struggle in 1977 through her membership in the Palestinian National Front. In 1978, she became a member of the National Steering Committee and was a member of the Palestinian National Council since its inception.

Israeli occupying forces imposed a house arrest on her in 1980 for two and a half years, and was prevented from traveling for 12 years.

She has represented Palestinian women in many international conferences and has been unable to attend some of them for security reasons.

She has actively contributed to the fight against social injustice faced by Palestinian women by supporting them through institutions and associations.

She founded and participated in many associations since 1965. In addition to the Family Relief Association, she contributed to the Young Christian Women's Association, the Union of Charitable Associations in Jerusalem and was the president of the Federation of Voluntary Associations, which included West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

She died on 26 February 1999. 

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