Women and the Israeli Occupation: The Politics of Change

Women and the Israeli Occupation: The Politics of Change

Women and the Israeli Occupation: The Politics of Change

Women and the Israeli Occupation: The Politics of Change


The state of Israel and the Palestinian nation are at a monumental juncture in their histories. Both have a chance to claim a new future but more than a quarter of a century of occupation has had significant social, political, economic, cultural, psychological and moral ramifications for Israeli and Palestinian men and women.
Women and the Israeli Occupation analyses the impact of the occupier/occupied dichotomy on the lives of Palestinian, Israeli Palestinian, and Israeli Jewish women. The book argues that the Occupation has exposed internal conflicts, challenging social structures within all three societies, but has also reinforced existing loyalties as Palestinian and Jewish women have moved into public political action and worked together to end the Occupation. It suggests that although military occupation is not colonialism, there are many similarities in the Israeli/Palestinian case.


Tamar Mayer

Palestinian national consciousness has been developing steadily since the early years of the twentieth century, when the Arabs of Palestine actively resisted British policies favoring Jewish settlement there. More recently and dramatically, Palestinian national identity has been shaped in important ways by two major events: by the expulsion of Palestinians after the 1948 war and by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since 1967. It is because of territorial incursions—both geopolitical and domestic—which accompanied the Occupation of 1967, I will argue, that Palestinian people have become more politicized and more nationally active.

Land confiscation, military invasions of everyday life, daily harassment, curfews and arrests, shrinking employment opportunities and collective punishments have all been an integral part of the Israeli military occupation. the occupier/occupied power relationship which was imposed by Israel in order to control the indigenous Palestinian population and thus to ‘ease the task’ of occupation on Israel’s part, has achieved only part of its goals, if any at all. the Occupation has proved unable to control fully the Palestinian people, or to control the Palestinian national spirit, especially as it has continued with no end in sight. the more Israel has tried to control Palestinian national feelings through harassment, arrests, and curfews, the more strongly these national sentiments have been expressed. the Palestinian national feelings brewing there before the Israeli occupation have intensified as a direct result of the Occupation, especially since the onset of the intifada. This attempt to ‘shake off’ the oppressive experience endured for more than twenty-six years was clearly the result of an existing national consciousness—but it also gave that consciousness an important push which has led to even more intense and proud national feelings among Palestinians. the Occupation gave birth to the intifada, and it has shaped the Palestinian national consciousness of today.

Although the literature on nationalism does not theorize about gender differences in the formation or expression of nationalism, the Palestinian case

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