The Palestinian Authority may not have any combat jets or control over its airspace, but it does have female paratroopers ready to leap into the void upon command.
Four young recruits belonging to the PA’s National Security apparatus recently took part in a parachutists course in Russia. In an interview with official Palestinian TV, two of the women spoke of their training as part of the women’s special unit in the National Security, including 30 Palestinian female recruits.
Lieutenant Colonel Hefez Al-Rifai told the channel that the training in Russia was the first time in history that female Arab soldiers underwent parachute training, according to a MEMRI transcrpit.
Lara Abu-Kuweik told Palestinian TV that she joined the special unit seven months ago in order “to make a change.”
“Women are not just administrators, they can also operate in the field in combat positions. Combat is not the monopoly of men; we can also do what men do,” Abu-Kuweik, who broke her leg on the third jump out of the plane, told the channel.
“It was a bit like dying,” she added. “We were prepared to die in order to bring pride to our nation.”
The National Security apparatus was created as part of the Oslo Peace Accords in 1994 to constitute the PA’s paramilitary security force. It is trained and funded by the United States.