Arresting Sight in West Bank

First Palestinian policewomen start work
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2007 3:20 AM CST
Arresting Sight in West Bank
Palestinian female police officers share a laugh shortly before their deployment in the streets of the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007. Palestinian pedestrians gawked at the unusual sight of women directing chaotic Ramallah traffic on Wednesday, the first batch of women to venture...   (Associated Press)

The first Palestinian policewomen have begun working in the West Bank city of Ramallah—directing traffic, making security checks, conducting house searches, and turning heads. They're the first women to complete training programs sponsored by the European Union, the AP reports. They sport uniforms of navy pants and light blue shirts, with many wearing headscarves to preserve the Islamic sense of modesty.

"I was afraid in the beginning because our society imposes a certain lifestyle for women," said one recruit. "But after spending time in the street, I am not afraid." Authority roles for women are generally frowned upon in Palestinian society, but bystanders yesterday hailed the move. "It's wonderful watching Palestinian women enforcing law and order," said a 59-year-old man. (Read more Palestinian Authority stories.)

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