A space of their own: Social-civil discourses among Palestinian-Israeli women in peace organizations

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Abstract

This article analyzes the way the marginality of Israeli-Arabs in general and women in particular within Israeli society trickles down into women's peace organizations, and how structures shape feminine and civil identity. Contextualizing women's narrative and rendering their cultural and historical specificity illuminates the singularity of their social position, which shapes a different feminist voice - one that is openly defiant toward the Jewish society but is also critical of its own community. Their location on the periphery of various social categories - citizenship, gender, national and local-community belonging - that demarcate the boundaries of identity and social affiliation results in multiple voices and solutions. This study is based on fifty in-depth interviews conducted in 1995 with Palestinian-Israeli women who were members of various peace organizations. All my life I worked with Jews as a lone Arab player. Now I want to work only with Arabs. . . . The moment there will be true peace such as I personally expect and hope we will arrive at, when a Palestinian state arises, when the Palestinians will seize their own state, a state with its own borders, which I think should be the borders of 1967, and a withdrawal [by Israel] from East Jerusalem - that is their [the Palestinians'] state - then [when the state comes into being] we have to begin to fight for our rights. To fight like an Israeli citizen in every respect. And that is a battle of a different kind. Now we are fighting for them to have their border, for the Palestinian people to seize their state. I consider myself an Israeli, a full-fledged resident of Israel. Now I will fight for my rights and my obligations simultaneously, both together, as an ordinary Israeli. (From an interview with a Palestinian Israeli woman).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-369
Number of pages26
JournalSocial Politics
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

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