Palestinian Women: Identity and Experience

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9781856492331: Palestinian Women: Identity and Experience

The INTIFADA has profoundly affected the lives of Palestinian women. The writings in this lively collection examine the changes it has brought to women and girls of all ages and backgrounds in the West Bank and Gaza. The stories reveal how women are responding to the growing conflict between the demands of tradition and honour on the one hand, and the economic and political realities of life under occupation on the other. Terry Atwan's story is of just such a fight; against the barriers of tradition and oppression by the occupiers. Yusra Berberi, born in 1923 in Gaza, gives a personal account of women's political participation over the many years of conflict. Rita Giacaman writes of the effects on women's health of discrimination against girls, while Amni Rimawi describes her role as vice-president of a trade union. A short story by Hannan Ashrawi of Bir Zeit University (and a leading figure in the peace process) follows 18-year old Iman Jardallah's moving account of life under siege, and Rana Salibi's testimony of women's roles in the popular committees. Ebba Augustin's introductions weave the writings together into a vivid picture of contemporary Palestinian life. What emerges throughout the book is the intensity of the pressure on Palestinian society. For many people, a way of coping with this has been to advocate a return to tradition - what Najah Manasra calls 'going back to the roots'. The victims of this trend are Palestinian women, and what is in danger now is not just the future position of women, but the very ability, without women's active involvement, to sustain the Intifada itself.

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