Description: Blossoms on the Olive Tree is an American woman’s account of work that Israeli and Palestinian women are doing to educate themselves and their societies about militarization, human rights, women’s rights, and the democratic process. The book highlights women on both sides of the political divide who reach out to each other, engage in bi-national dialogue, and challenge ongoing violence.
Blossoms on the Olive Tree is an American woman’s account of work that Israeli and Palestinian women are doing to educate themselves and their societies about militarization, human rights, women’s rights, and the democratic process. The book highlights women on both sides of the political divide who reach out to each other, engage in bi-national dialogue, and challenge ongoing violence. Despite severe societal restraints in carving out political space for themselves, women in both societies have devised creative opportunities. Powers documents the women’s working committees attached to Palestinian political parties and the creativity of Israeli women striving to civil-ize their society. Ironically, it is their marginalization that offers women space to engage in their peace-building efforts. The book ends with a clarion call for the implementation of UN Resolution 1325, which requires the presences of women at the highest levels of peace negotiations. Women, with their commitment to reconciliation and healing, bring a significant vision to the enterprise of peace-building, and Powers suggests that it’s high time they be taken seriously.
In the course of researching this book, Powers stayed in Jewish homes, Muslim homes, and Christian homes, observing women going about their daily tasks. She shared Shabbat dinners and Christmas dinners, Muslim family celebrations, herbal tea and Arab coffee, benefiting from extraordinary hospitality, and learning that Israeli and Palestinian are more alike than they are different. Like women everywhere, Jewish and Arab women care deeply for their children, put up with anger and abuse from their husbands, and try to negotiate a path between societal expectations and personal convictions. Virtually all of them yearn to live in peace, to raise their families without fear, and to enjoy the small pleasures of life without anxiety for the future. These are their stories, and they impart a measure of humanity to the occupation, the Separation Wall, and living with the fear of suicide bombings that is difficult to glean from nightly news reports. Most important, these remarkable women are succeeding in changing from within the way in which their own societies think about themselves.
Description: “Women and War in the Middle East” provides a critical examination of the relationship between gender and transnationalism in the context of war, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction in the Middle East. Critically examining the ways in which the actions of various local and transnational groups – including women’s movements, diaspora communities, national governments, non-governmental actors and multilateral bodies – interact to both intentionally and inadvertantly shape the experiences of women in conflict situations, and determine the possibilities for women’s participation in peace-building and (post)-conflict reconstruction, as well as the longer-term prospects for peace and security. The volume pays particular attention to the ways in which gender roles, relations and identities are constructed, negotiated and employed within transnational social and political fields in the conflict and post-conflict situations, and their particular consequences for women. Contributions focus on the two countries with the longest experiences of war and conflict in the Middle East, and which have been subject to the most prominent international interventions of recent years – that is, Iraq and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Issues addressed by contributors include the impact of gender mainstreaming measures by international agencies and NGOs upon the ability of women to participate in peace-building and post-conflict resolution; the consequences for gender relations and identities of the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq; and, how transnational feminist movements can most effectively support peace building and women’s rights in the region. Based entirely on original empirical research, “Women and War in the Middle East” brings together some of the foremost scholars in the areas of feminist international relations, feminist international political economy, anthropology, sociology, history and Middle East studies.
Description: In Militant Women of a Fragile Nation, Malek Abisaab takes a gendered approach to labor conflicts, anticolonial struggles, and citizenship in modern Lebanon. The author traces the conditions and experiences of women workers at the French Tobacco Monopoly. Challenging the prevailing assumptions about culturally inscribed roles for Middle Eastern women, the book highlights traditions of public activism and militancy among rural women that are in turn adapted to the spaces of the factory. Women employed distinct strategies involving kinship, sectarian, gender, and class ties to enhance their work conditions and social benefits. Drawing on extensive ethnographic data, the author convincingly argues that the condition of women can only be explained by exploring the shifting relationship between culture, societal arrangements, and economic settings. Abisaab’s richly detailed work illuminates the impact of class and gender in the transformation of modern Lebanon.
Description: This note gives an overview of women’s rights and gender equality in Palestine. It introduces the main actors, and then provides information on women’s status in the economic, educational, health, political, legal and cultural domain. It finds that, although advances have been made, women activists need to continue and be supported in their struggle against dual oppression from Israeli occupation and patriarchal control, if women’s rights and gender equality are to be secured in Palestine.
Description: Freedom House’s innovative publication Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Progress Amid Resistance analyzes the status of women in the region, with a special focus on the gains and setbacks for women’s rights since the first edition was released in 2005. The study presents a comparative evaluation of conditions for women in seventeen countries and one territory: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine (Palestinian Authority and Israeli-Occupied Territories), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The publication identifies the causes and consequences of gender inequality in the Middle East, and provides concrete recommendations for national and international policymakers and implementers.
Women’s rights in each country are assessed in five key areas: (1) Nondiscrimination and Access to Justice; (2) Autonomy, Security, and Freedom of the Person; (3) Economic Rights and Equal Opportunity; (4) Political Rights and Civic Voice; and (5) Social and Cultural Rights. the methodology is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the study results are presented through as set of numerical scores and analytical narrative reports.
Description: Based on interviews of the PLO’s top women leaders in the Palestinian diaspora and the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Daughters of Palestine provides the first examination of the full history of women’s involvement in the Palestinian National Movement from the revolution in the mid-1960s to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process in the early 1990s. Going beyond media imagery, Amal Kawar reviews the women’s social and political backgrounds to explain how they overcame the traditional gender roles pervasive in Arab societies and became involved in politics. She then focuses on particular periods in the history of the Palestinian movement, as it moved from Jordan to Lebanon, Tunisia, and the Occupied Territories.
Issues covered include women’s nationalist activities, their relationship to the male leadership, the impact of crises, and the upsurge of the Islamist movement. A consistent theme of this investigation is how conflicts and crises, inside and outside the Palestinian arena, challenge and frame the success of women’s nationalist work. Daughters of Palestine highlights the dilemma of national liberation struggles that both promote and co-opt women’s liberation aspirations.