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Recep Boztermur June 2011, 23 pages This thesis analyses the Palestinian women movement in the First Intifada which occurred in 1987. Since Palestine is traditional society patriarchy dominates the Palestinian society. Therefore, Palestinian women confronts with two major problems one is patriarchy the other is occupation. Since patriarchy is dominant in the sociocultural life of Palestine, Palestinian women cannot express themselves in the public life. However, the First Intifada can be regarded turning point in terms of participating in social life with the male members of the society. Since Palestinian society was not ready to accept the emancipation of women and the transformation of society remained one sided because when Palestinian women were transformed Palestinian men remained in the same social situation after the First Intifada women activism remained partially. Palestinian women movement emerged within the national struggle of Palestine therefore, feminist movement in Palestine in the first intifada did not continue with the same dynamics. Keywords: Palestinian women, The First Intifada, Patriarchy, Feminism, Nationalism


ABSTRACT ....................................................................................................................................i


TABLE OF CONTENTS .............................................................................................................iii

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ...............................................................................................................1 2. THE NATURE OF PALESTINIAN SOCIETY..5 2.1 2.2 The reasons which caused backward situation of Palestinian women...5 The case of Honor and Israel...6

3. THE SITUATION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN BEFORE THE FIRST INTIFADA8 3.1 4. The social relation between men and women n the Palestine10


INTIFADA11 4.1 Changing social relation between men and women during the First Intifada.13 5. THE SITUATION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN AFTER THE FIRST INTIFADA...14 5.1 Women Activism16 6. NATIONALISM AND FEMINISM..17 7. CONCLUSION..18


INTRODUCTION The first Intifada ,which means shaking off in Arabic, is the resistance occurred in December 1987 by the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza against the Israeli occupation. The Intifada of 1987 was organized by the groups that had developed under the conditions of the occupation. The Intifada involved hundreds of thousands of people, many with no previous resistance experience, including children, teenagers and women. For the first few years, it involved many forms of civil disobedience, including massive demonstrations, general strikes, refusal to pay taxes, boycotts of Israeli products, political graffiti and the establishment of underground schools (since regular schools were closed by the military as reprisals for the uprising).1Since it includes stone throwing, Molotov cocktails and erection of barricades stone throwing is regarded as the symbol of the First Intifada. Intifada was centered on the UNLU (United National Leadership of the Uprising) which was a unification of four PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) parties in the occupied territories: Fatah, the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), the DFLP (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and the PPP (Palestinian People's Party). From 1987 to 1991 Israeli forces killed over 1,000 Palestinians, including over 200 under the age of sixteen. By 1990, most of the UNLU leaders had been arrested and the intifada lost its cohesive force, although it continued for several more years.

Economic transformation in the occupied

territories which means the integration subordination of local Palestinian economy into the Israeli economy , rising Palestinian Nationalism which can gather people from different political

MERIP Intifada Retrieved from [http://www.merip.org/palestine-israel_primer/intifada-87-palisr-primer.html] 2 Ibid.

backgrounds in the situation of national struggle, mass mobilization especially the mobilization of women and international context that resulted with the loss of any hope in an external diplomatic solution are regarded as the origins of the causes of the Palestinian uprising. This analysis about the causes of the origins of Intifada supports the Charles Tillys term of collective action as Joint action in pursuit of common ends.3 The uprising started as a result of political situation of the occupied territories, since it includes mass participation it was resulted in the social transformation of Palestinian society. Although the first Intifada was not resulted in any drastic improvement in terms of the political rights of Palestinian society, it paved the way for the period in which the social status of women was transformed. Women were active in the Intifada in 1987 and this can be understood with the result of deaths during the Intifada; one-third of deaths was women. Furthermore, the number of women taken into custody n the 1970s was about hundreds however, in the 1980s the number of women taken into custody was nearly around thousands.4 This situation is important in terms of defining of social identity of Palestinian women. In other words, the politicization of women in a patriarchal society resulted with partial emancipation of them. Despite of nationalist struggle which was regarded as driving force for the emancipation of Palestinian women patriarchy was the worst obstacles of the improvements of the rights of women. The literature from the Middle East makes clear that in many parts of the world where Islamic movements are on the rise, women find themselves torn between their identities as women and their cultural identities as Muslims. (quoted in the Kandiyoti 1991:7) 5 Patriarchy limits and controls the identity of women however, in the case of national struggle which requires the collective action women can find

Erica,Alin Dynamics of the Palestinian Uprising: An Assessment of Causes, Character, and Consequences. Comparative Politics. Vol. 26, No. 4 (Jul., 1994), pp. 479-498 ,p 488. 4 Pappe, Ilan. Ortadouyu Anlamak NTV Yaynlar, 2011. 5 Cited in R.Ray,A.C. Korteweg Women's Movements in the Third World: Identity, Mobilization, and Autonomy. Annual Review of Sociology. pp. 47-71 . p 51

opportunity of emancipate them. So, some politicization processes can be resulted in the break of traditional applications. Moreover, n this kind of patriarchal societies urbanization sometimes can affect the impact of traditions on the activities of women. Women living in urban can be politicized and free when compared with the women living in rural areas. Although Palestinian women living in rural areas wanted to be active in the struggle they were oppressed by the traditional family structure. 6 In order to examine the women movement and transformation of their social role during the First Intifada this study is organized around the nature of Palestinian society, situation of women before the Intifada, women movement during the uprising, result of Intifada and relation between the nationalism and women movement. In the first chapter, the social structure of Palestinian society will be examined by considering the patriarchal feature of Palestine. In the second chapter, the life of Palestinian women before the First Intifada will be explained. In the third chapter, women activism during the Frist Intifada by considering its relation with national struggle will be examined. In the fourth chapter, after the First Intifada the life of Palestinian women and the transformation in their life will be observed. In the conclusion, four chapters will be summarized and some suggestions to sustain women activism will be given. A case-study approach was used in this thesis by focusing on the Palestinian Intifada of 1987. During the literature review it has been noticed that there are not enough sources about the activism of Palestinian women so it was difficult to sort out the main chapters from the articles about major topic of this thesis. After comprehensive literature review it has been noticed that there are very few sources about the women movement during the First Intifada. Most of the sources were article. Especially the book of Ilan Pappe who is the member of new historians ( a

Pappe, Ortadouyu Anlamak. p 337

group of Israeli historian who have challenged the official history writing of Israel) namely Ortadouyu Anlamak was helpful to grasp the general frame of the Palestinian society and Middle East. Zahira Kamal and Philippa Strum were the other authors who have explained Palestinian women and process of the First Intifada comprehensively. Another important point during the literature review was that in the international level Palestinian women has not been sufficiently the subject of research.


THE NATURE OF PALESTINIAN SOCETY The characteristic of the Palestinian society similar to neighbor countries like Syria and Lebanon is mainly determined by the patriarchal components of society. Since patriarchy is the domination of men over women and Palestine is patriarchal society Palestinian women has been the sufferers of society. Apart from being member of patriarchal society living in the occupied territories under the pressure of Israeli troop the condition of Palestinian women got worsened. Moreover, life in the occupied territories prevented any educational improvement so women did not have chance to receive qualified and equal education opportunities. As a result of this situation Palestinian women did not initiate any feminist movement. 2.1 The reasons which caused backward situation of Palestinian women According to Zahira Kamal the reasons which caused backward situation of Palestinian women are: 1) the distorted and backward socioeconomic structure that has traditionally prevented women from potentially great contributions in the production of goods and 2) an ideological structure that is based that is based on ancestral traditions.

The cultural codes which are

defined by patriarchy and inherent by women unconsciously is another problematic issue of Palestinian women. The accepted role of men is being in outside so men can be easily part of politics and have the right to protests against Israeli troops whereas women are generally live at home and can only be spectators of reactions of men. Moreover, the term of honor is defined with the existence of women and regarded men as the protector of honor of women. Therefore, the emancipation and political reactions of women becomes more difficult under the any fear of loss of their honor. When women start to think any reaction against Israeli they have to consider any

Zahira Kamal. The Development of the Palestinian Womens Movement in the Occupied Territories: Twenty years after the Israeli Occupation. Palestinian Women of Gaza and the West Bank. (ed.) Suha Sabbagh. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998) Pp 270. p 79

violence especially sexual violence.

Since when they were arrested interrogation will be

inevitable. In her article Rosemary Sayigh gives this example: R.E. tells me unemotionally of her two weeks in the Moscobiya, when they tried to force her to sign a confession that she belonged to the PLO. Apart from interrupted sleep and continuous discomfort, interrogation was accompanied by forced stripping, name calling (prostitute) and threats of rape. 8 Therefore, for Israel any intimidating attitude of Israeli forces can prevent the demonstration and political activity of Palestinian women. 2.2 The case of Honor and Israel Moreover, since men were regarded as the protector of honor any violence against women can be resulted with the reaction of men or can discourage women any activism against Israel. Israeli reading of Arab psychology leads to sexual aggression or threat being used against them as a means of intimidating the population as a whole. However, this expectation of Israel did not reach its goal. As Sayigh explains with this sentence that Up to now this form of pressure has not been successful: the politicization of women appears to be increasing rather than lessening. 9Another cultural code was represented with the process of hijabization. Before the Intifada, in the late 1970s Islamic movement, especially Mujama alIslami, restored hijab which was not related to authentic Palestinian dress and imposed wearing of hijab on the women in Gaza. Hijab which is the traditional head cover of Muslim women gained importance during the Intifada. During the years after Intifada hijab was imposed on all Palestinian women as a result of politicization of hijab. During the year of Intifada a few women activists did not wear hijab. However, in December 1988 a year after Intifada it was impossible to walk the streets without hijab. For example, graffiti

Rosemary Sayigh. Encounters with Palestinian Women under Occupation. Journal of Palestine Studies. Vol. 10, No. 4 (Summer, 1981), pp. 3-26 .p 6 9 Sayigh, Encounters with Palestinian Women under Occupation. p 7

sprung up all over the Strip with the statements such as , Daughter of Islam abide by sharia dress! In May 1988 religious youths broke into classrooms and demanded that schoolgirls wear the hijab10. The Intifada pave the way of ideological transformation of hijab and empowered the impact of patriarchy on women. By declaring bayan (which means political manifesto) women were oppressed and forced to wear hijab. Although the Intifada process started the period of emancipation among Palestinian women the pressure of traditional groups prevented the activities of women. The interaction of women activists with different political fractions resulted with different outcomes. Generally, the attitude of leftist groups was positive towards women activists and women could easily express themselves within these groups. Women in the movement, particularly those in the leftist parties, were concerned with gender inequalities that were manifested in the marginalization of women in the social, economic, and political spheres both in their parties and in their societies and thus developed a gender (or feminist) consciousness.

However, the role of traditionalist groups was different. They wanted to control women within

the borders of their traditional point of view. Especially, Hamas tried to control women by declaring bayan and using graffiti. It can be inferred from the historical background of Palestine that since historically Palestinian society struggled for the independence and the education level of society was not so high the emancipation of women has always ignored. The priority was given national struggle and traditional political fragments regarded women as inferior than men so women within the sociocultural character of Palestinian society was not active in the decision making process of society. CHAPTER 3

Rema Hammami. Women, the Hijab and the Intifada. Middle East Report. No. 164/165, Intifada Year Three (May - Aug., 1990).pp. 24-28+71+78. p 24-25 11 Randa Nasser,Fidaa Barghouti,Janan Mousa. Feminist Attitudes and Praxis Among Palestinian Women Activists. Feminist Formations. Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press (2010) . Volume 22, Number 3, Fall 2010, pp. 146-175 (Article). p 2


THE SITUATION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN BEFORE THE FIRST INTIFADA Before the First Intifada in 1987 similar to other Middle Eastern societies women in the Palestine have been subordinated by the dominant figures of the society. Since the educational background of Palestinian women varied from well-educated to uneducated it is difficult to observe any striking movement before the First Intifada. A relatively small number of women were educated during the pre-intifada period. Among them were a few women from the societal elite, largely from Christian families. Some were daughters of post -1948 refugee camp families. Illiterate women were able to obtain work only as domestic laborers, and it was hoped that a basic education would enhance their chances of getting better jobs. 12There are some obstacles which caused the subordination of women in the Palestinian society. The first obstacle was the political disorder that prevents women from any emancipating activities. On the grounds that Palestinian national struggle which was started even with the beginning of the Mandate Regime of Britain was regarded the prior problem of Palestine. The second obstacle which was related to first one was that the underdeveloped social character of Palestinian society particularly within the period of national struggle could not make any political activism of Palestinian women possible. The most important example was their dominant male culture which defended honor killing for controlling of female members of society. Freedom and struggle are impossible in a society in which strict application like honor killing is implemented. Therefore, under the threat of being killed women could not be active within the feminist resistance. There were also other characteristics of Palestinian women under the living conditions of occupation. The main characteristics of West Bank women was being apolitical and being passive outside of their home. Similar to other

Shaarawi,. Harem Years, p 8. cited in. West Bank Women and the Intifada: Revolution within revolution. Strum. Palestinian Women of Gaza and the West Bank. (ed.) Suha Sabbagh. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998) p 75


traditional societies in Palestine the labor of women was ignored since they were working all the times at home. On the grounds that they labor within home for their family and their husband are both member and the supporter of traditional family Palestinian women did not have any salary. As a result of this situation women were the unpaid workers of the Palestinian society. It was men who went into the paid workforce, men who mingled in cafes and played backgammon after work, and men who socialized outside the home.

West Bank women were generally conservative and

had rural characteristics. It can be predicted from the rural structure of West Bank women that it is difficult to see any reaction against male dominant Palestinian society. Moreover, in rural areas there was usually clear gender-based division of labor. Rural women fetched the water and men herded flocks, for example, while some seasonal jobs, such as picking olives and harvesting were done by men and women together. Women occasionally did mens work, but West Bank men, like those everywhere, normally played no role in the womens work of child rearing, cooking and housekeeping. Men controlled money no matter who earned it and were viewed as the primary breadwinners. 3.1 The social relation between men and women n the Palestine The social relation between men and women are also determined with the traditional sociocultural aspect of society. In this kind of society the social interaction between men and women is nearly impossible. For close relation a man must be the husband of woman. A woman has been regarded under the responsibility of a man. If a woman is not married, father has the traditional responsibility. Moreover, marriage transfers the responsibility of women from father to husband.


Salman, M. p 15 cited in West Bank Women and the Intifada: Revolution within

revolution. Strum. p 64


Within this circle Palestinian woman was not responsible from herself. Traditionally, couples do not met in advance. So, this kind of marriage style resulted with passive and apolitical women. For example, women are regarded so passive and defined under the oppression of men that in the marriage process t was her father who decides the marriage of his daughter. It was her fathers obligation to get the best possible mahr (bride price), which was both compensation to her family for loss of her labor and her means of support should be divorced. Traditionally, a low value was placed on female literacy, considered irrelevant to marriage and the production of children.15 There were a few women who were challenging this ideology. The main common trait of those women was their educational background they were educated in universities. These women are important feminist figures since they were the first people who struggled for the right of Palestinian women. Beginning in 1978, they established four womens work committees that, along with a number of leading nonpartisan women- primarily from academia- constitute the womens women movement. The emphasis was on bringing committee members into the national liberation movement and empowering them by making them part of the decision-making process. Thus local subcommittees were in place when intifada began.

The members of these committees

contributed to the education of women which helped the economic liberation of women. CHAPTER 4 THE SITUATION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN DURING THE FIRST INTIFADA

Shaarawi, Harem Years,p 8. cited in West Bank Women and the Intifada: Revolution within revolution. Strum. p 64

Strum. West Bank Women and the Intifada: Revolution within revolution p 65


1987 was the crucial year for the Palestinian women. Because of the fact that, uprising was not only the reaction of Palestinian society against the Israel rather it was the uprising of Palestinian women against both Israeli forces and patriarchal structure of Palestinian society. With the uprising Palestinian women started to appear physically on the Palestinian national struggle. The early days of the uprising in the occupied territories yielded striking images of Palestinian women marching in the streets, schoolgirls throwing stones at soldiers, older women carrying baskets of stones on their heads to supply younger demonstrators, women arguing and tussling with the authorities to win the release of an arrested boy. 17There are two basic aspects of the First Intifada on the Palestinian women. The first aspect of the Intifada is that when women started to show physical resistance against the Israeli forces they noticed that they can be successful against Israel with solidarity. Therefore, it can be inferred from this case that women with this self-confidence of success and increasing sense of solidarity started to think that they could achieve their aims in

domestic level that is, against the patriarchy. Moreover, the sense of emergency also inspired the politicization of Palestinian women. Before the Intifada women did not notice the importance of the politicization of women and women from refugee camps and from villages did not participate in these activities. Joost Hiltermann cites the opinions of Nablus activist from his interview with this sentence that: because our program (before the uprising) was explicitly political, economic, and cultural, women were afraid to join, but during the uprising, our program began to address reality. Now women are more eager to join, because they want to address problem in their real lives.

The second aspect of Intifada is that it created the sense of consciousness among

the Palestinian women. Palestinian women started to go outside of their home and had experienced direct interaction with Israeli forces and Palestinian who were suffered from with Israeli attacks.

Joost R. Hiltermann. The Women's Movement during the Uprising. Journal of Palestine Studies. University of California Press. Vol. 20, No. 3 (Spring, 1991), pp. 48-57. p 48 18 Hiltermann. The Women's Movement during the Uprising. p 49


As a result of this direct interaction women had experienced the process of awareness. As Hiltermann states that working on behalf of prisoners and their families, they would contact lawyers, collect clothing for prisoners, and arrange prison visits via the Red Cross. Women also distributed leaflets, discussed politics openly (often for the first time) and urged people who remained unconvinced to participate in uprising

As a result of this physical participation the

world view of Palestinian women started to be transformed. Since physical involvement made the communication of Palestinian women possible, women who were well-educated affected other Palestinian women who came from rural areas. When well-educated Palestinian women trained the other Palestinian women this education was resulted with the sociocultural progress in the long term. Moreover, the participation of women during the Intifada resulted with the emancipation of them. As a result, this participation gave the way of conscious generation. Furthermore, the examples show that Palestinian women movement has some different characteristics when compared with the reactions of previous times. First example indicates that not only Palestinian women were bothered from the Intifada but a few Israeli women were reacted during the Intifada as well. Close to 200 Beit Sahur women were joined by about a dozen Israeli women peace activists when they took the authorities by surprise by holding their Womens Day march three days early, carrying Palestinian flags, singing and chanting slogans. 20 Moreover, it was not only the women who participated in demonstration suffered from the violence but women who did not participate in any demonstrations become the victims of the


Hiltermann. The Women's Movement during the Uprising. p 50 Strum. West Bank Women and the Intifada: Revolution within revolution. p 66



conditions of occupation as well. Some of the women who died during the Intifada were passer-by killed by chance on their way home from school or market during a demonstration. 21 4.1 Changing social relation between men and women during the First Intifada Another important characteristic changed social relation between men and women partially. Today still there is traditionally determined distance between the genders in Palestine, the First Intifada brought about some improvements in terms of social interaction between men and women. When we went to demonstrations or participate in clashes in the beginning of the Intifada, we met groups of young men. We did not speak to them; because of the social customs we were raised with, and also prove to people that we were there to confront the soldiers not to meet boys. But, later on, we would talk to them every day.

As indicated with this example that in a traditional

society in which patriarchy is dominant, flirtation is impossible and the notion of honor killing is in effect women always become the victims of moral value of society. Since Palestinian women do not have equal social and cultural opportunities the case like Intifada can give a chance of communication between genders. Furthermore, in the first year of Intifada Palestinian women confronted with new sensibility apart from serving time in prisons, wrestling with strange men, and in, smaller numbers, achieving a measure of economic independence.

Another striking example

is that in the first year of Intifada the attitude of even some rooted groups of society changed. A womens committee member commented, really, the shebabs which means young men,, [sic] respect for us increased because of our awareness, and our role in the streets and in the

21 22

Ibid. Strum. West Bank Women and the Intifada: Revolution within revolution. p 69 Strum. West Bank Women and the Intifada: Revolution within revolution. p 70



neighborhood committees. Our initiatives gain us the respect of all the people, not just the young men.

CHAPTER 5 THE SITUATION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN AFTER THE FIRST INTIFADA In the Middle Eastern countries until the Intifada (1987) there were no dramatic shifts in perception of the gender issue. Similar to other Middle Eastern countries in the Palestine also there was not any influential reaction against patriarchal social life. Generally, reactions come from the women who were the elite members of the society with highly educational background. Apart from these highly educated elite women other women were generally regarded as inferior than men. The role of women in patriarchal societies is generally determined by male members of society. Furthermore, the moral values of the Palestinian society define women as the property of men, even the male members of her family has the right to protect her honor. The first Intifada paved the way of partial freedom and awareness for Palestinian women in the Occupied territories. It is difficult to claim that First Intifada resulted with full emancipation and awareness among the members of the Palestinian society. However, it will be beneficial to give some examples from the Palestinian society. First example is related to the unchanging traditional point of the view of the society. According to Palestinian society, similar to other patriarchal societies, even the honor of women is determined with the desire of the general norms of society the participation of women to any political activity resulted with the exclusion of the women. For example, women ex- prisoners began to be treated as contaminated, regularly being denied jobs and having difficulty in finding husbands25. It can be inferred from this example that activist women were generally excluded.
24 25

Strum. West Bank Women and the Intifada: Revolution within revolution. p 69 Strum. West Bank Women and the Intifada: Revolution within revolution. p 72


Since, the Palestinian society was not ready to accept the sacrifice of any woman. Moreover, the November 15, 1988, Palestinian Declaration of Independence, however, was written with the care after extensive debate about its content. It portrays women in a traditional, nurturing, but politically passive role: We render special tribute to the brave Palestinian woman, guardian of sustenance and life, keeper of our peoples perennial flame. Accompanying, Palestinian National Council defined the Palestinian masses as the unions, their vocational organizations, their students, their workers, their farmers, their women, their artisans, their academics 26 As indicated from these two examples that after 1987 Palestinian women were defined separately. However, these two declarations do not mean Palestinian women have gained special identity in everywhere. Particularly, some groups who wanted to continue ex status quo did not accept the emancipation of women. Hamas can be regarded most important figure that ignore the active role of women in the society. Furthermore, the case of marriage was partially transformed. On the ground that, as a result of increased social interaction among genders many women found prospective husbands while doing political work. However, still most of women wanted the traditional marriage because of the pressure from their parents. Moreover, traditional marriage namely mahr meant they would have security in case of a marriage ended.

First Intifada affected Palestinian women in

socioeconomic level. Since Israeli occupation after the Intifada worsened the economic conditions of the Palestinian society. As a result, the socioeconomic situation of the members of the Palestinian society, particularly situation of women, was slowdown. Moreover, one or two years after Intifada, Palestinian women did not show any progress. Even today Palestinian women do not have equal rights with men. However, it is difficult to claim that the situation of Palestinian women turned the pre Intifada period.

Ibid. Strum. West Bank Women and the Intifada: Revolution within revolution. p 73



5.1 Women Activism The first Intifada triggered women activist in Palestine and opened a new period in terms of women right. The number of women who participated in protests and become conscious of injustice against them increased. However, the reason of the regression of activism is not the Palestinian women. The major reason, and also obstacle, against the progress of women activism is the unchanging situation of male members of the society. Since as the major agent of patriarchy men are the dominant figure in decision making process. When they do not show any progress or efforts of Palestinian women will be temporary. In short, the reason of Palestinian women comes from the role of men and when they do not change, any solution becomes useless. Finally, since Palestine still has problems with the conditions of occupation and Palestinian society was faced with the Second Intifada it is difficult to conclude the result of Intifada. Moreover, in the first months of 2011 people were called for the Third Intifada via the internet. (BBC News)


the second Intifada was ended officially the period of Intifada does not end in sociocultural and socioeconomic level. CHAPTER 6 NATIONALISM AND FEMINISM Many of the womens movements in the third world have been tied to nationalist and anticolonialist projects.29 In the especially third world countries nationalism and feminism can be related. Since until nationalist movement there was no room for women in order to express themselves and raise their voices. By means of nationalist struggle women started to take active

Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12902273


Ray, Korteweg .Women's Movements in the Third World: Identity, Mobilization, and Autonomy.p 55


role in their society as a result of this interaction the self -confidence of women increased. It can be inferred from this idea that national struggle triggered feminist movement. Bharati Ray (1988) maintains that womens consciousness did indeed expand in unexpected ways, and thus womens emancipation was directly served by the struggle for Indian independence30. However, the opponents of Ray, Thapar and (1994) and Sarkar (1992) argue that while participation in the anti-colonialist struggle did indeed expand the sphere of movement for middle class women, ultimately, because women's interests were secondary, the liberation they achieved remained a by-product of national liberation.31 In other words, according to Thapar and Sarkar feminism is not the direct aim and result of nationalist movement it was improved in unexpected ways. Nationalism might inspire womens movements. However, feminism does not continue its argument with the nationalist discourse. Moreover, the tension between nationalist and feminist argument has another side. Some according to some academicians feminism and nationalism are inseparable arguments. Beall et al (1989) argue that separating the womens movement from the nationalist movement generates a false dichotomy between these two struggles. They articulate a position, based in socialist- feminism, that national liberation is a form of class struggle and should take precedence over gender and race struggles32. Moreover, Rosemary Sayigh asserted in her article that PFLP leader George Habashs two pamphlets put womens liberation on the same footing as national and class liberation.33 In the case of Palestine the relation between feminism and nationalism seems impossible. Since in the Palestinian society patriarchy is dominant and feminist ideology emerged

Cited in Ray, Korteweg. Women's Movements in the Third World: Identity, Mobilization, and Autonomy. p 56 31 Ibid. 32 Cited in Ray, Korteweg. Women's Movements in the Third World: Identity, Mobilization, and Autonomy. p 57 33 Sayigh, Encounters with Palestinian Women under Occupation. p 4


as a reaction against patriarchy it is difficult to combine these two opposite ideologies. Any complain coming from Palestinian women activists was regarded unnecessary since the nature of patriarchy accepts subordination of women. Moreover, nationalist movements include military action however; the object of feminist movement does not include any military action. In other words, feminism is not originated in any nationalist movement. Feminist movement might come into prominence within the process of nationalist movement by the increasing participation of Palestinian women. Sharoni (1995) suggests that while the Palestinian nationalist struggle, like others before it, has not adequately dealt with issues of gender, the Intifada itself has created a distinctive Palestinian women peace movement on the one hand and an Israeli womens peace movement on the other. 34

CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION This study was done by considering historical process in order to correlate the major arguments of Palestinian women movements in the First Intifada. The condition of Palestinian women before, during and after the First Intifada was examined. Three terms namely; patriarchy, feminism and


Cited in Ray, Korteweg. Women's Movements in the Third World: Identity, Mobilization, and Autonomy.p 57


nationalism were discussed. The first Intifada indicates the importance of collective action in the Palestine which is a traditional society in the national struggle. As a result of its traditional culture it is difficult to observe any collective action. However, the Intifada of 1987 is the indication of a drastic change in terms of collectivity among the members of society coming from different segments. Palestinian women are the most important segments of the first Intifada. Moreover, several authors have focused on motherhood as the motivating identity for womens social action.35This argument might be partially true, because most of the Palestinian women might not be aware of the importance of the protests they were joining. Since there was no unified women committee for seeking womens rights before the First Intifada, it is difficult to claim that during the Intifada women demanding their rights with their feminist identities. However, during the First Intifada most of women might not predict that they will have autonomous identity within their societies. Before the First Intifada maybe during the first period of Intifada Palestinian women did not aware of their identities. They were generally defined with their male relatives. In other words, they were defined as the mother, sister, or wife of martyrs or their male family members who were in the prison. Therefore, women were not recognized with their names or their activities. Intifada paved the way of transformation of women identities. Safa, (1990), Schirmer (1989), and Rodriguez (1994) argue that even traditional mobilizations can result in transformed identities, also Haj (1992) for womens activism as wives and mothers in the cause of Palestinian liberation, and Agarwal (1992) for womens activism in defense of their environment36. According to Ilan Pappe although the socioeconomic situation of Israeli women was better than the Palestinian women, Palestinian women were more active than Israeli women. 37This deduction can be commented in two ways; on the one hand it is difficult to generalize the political activism of all women by giving

Cited in Ray, Korteweg. Women's Movements in the Third World: Identity, Mobilization, and Autonomy.p 51 36 Ibid. 37 Pappe, Ortadouyu Anlamak. p.334


example of Israel on the other hand, it can be inferred from the case of Israeli women that any situation of struggle inspires women for reaction. Moreover, although Intifada caused partial improvement and changes in the life of Palestinian women, especially in the Gaza and West Bank, the period after the Intifada showed that the women activism was not permanent. Since all the Palestinian women who participated in protests were not aware of the implication of their activities and male being the dominant figure in the Palestinian society was not passed any transformation when these movements happened and lastly Palestinian society was still under the conditions of Occupation so it was difficult to focus on different concerns. For Palestinian women during the Intifada mostly national struggle was their primary concern. Zahira Kamal as one of the important Palestinian feminist activists explains in her article what should be done for improvements of women activities in Palestine by pointing out five major points. First, the Palestinian womens movement must keep working to widen its popular base. Second, the womens movement must attempt to maintain social balance in its membership. Third, there should be greater effort to organize housewives. Fourth, more attention must be paid to the problems of workingwomen and the exploitation to which they are subjected. Discrimination occurs whether they are working on Israeli projects or in national institutions. Fifth, it is essential to coordinate the work of unions with that part of philanthropic societies38. Apart from the detailed assessment of Zahira Kamal there should be different implementations: initially, the activities of Palestinian women should continue with the modernization activities. Then, all Palestinian women should have equal educational opportunities in order to experience similar social transformation process. Lastly, there should be more interaction between global


Kamal, The Development of the Palestinian Womens Movement in the Occupied Territories: Twenty years after the Israeli Occupation. p 86


feminist movements and Palestinian feminist movement in order to solve their problems by looking wide perspective.

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