Women and the Israeli Occupation: The Politics of Change

By Tamar Mayer | Go to book overview

4

HEIGHTENED PALESTINIAN NATIONALISM

Military occupation, repression, difference and gender

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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Women and the Israeli Occupation: The Politics of Change
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xii
  • 1 - Women and the Israeli Occupation 1
  • 3 - Between National and Social Liberation 33
  • 4 - Heightened Palestinian Nationalism 62
  • 5 - Israeli Women Against the Occupation 88
  • 6 - Palestinian Women in Israel 106
  • Bibliography 119
  • 7 - Homefront as Battlefield 121
  • 8 138
  • 9 - Women Street Peddlers 147
  • Bibliography 163
  • 10 - Environmental Problems Affecting Palestinian Women Under Occupation 164
  • 11 - A Feminist Politics of Health Care 179
  • Index 199
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