Palestinian Women Research Paper Essay
Palestinian Women Taking Risks Israelis and Palestinians have produced a crucial conflict that has been going on since 1987 known as the Intifada. In history, their considerations, thoughts, and feelings of Palestinian women were not taken into thought when the attacks from Israel began. The Gaza Strip had violent disturbances happening between Palestine and Israel that began in early December 1967. The Palestinian’s have had two Intifada that have been violent killing millions of people and continues to go on (Rigby 1).
With all the violent attacks that were going within Palestine and Israel, Palestinian women were tired of being cooped up and brought out what they are capable of. These women found out that they were more powerful than what they had imagined. The war has allowed them to discover new roles and much more through the invasion of Palestine and even though the war is terrible, it has had some positive effects on women: they are able to take risks.
When Israelis started invading Palestinian’s lives, some dramatic effects and changes were added to their life, they were exposed to immense violence and started having boundaries to where they could go. Palestinian people were prevented from living in their own villages and towns. There were times that Palestinian’s workplaces were ten minutes away; it will take them from two hours to sometimes days to get there (My Home, My Prison). Palestinians economic survival has become a big issue, since they are not allowed to go into certain places; it is hard for them to find jobs and to support their family.
Funds had been considerably cut down even to the events that had once benefited women. An unspecified amount of women’s organizations were beginning to struggle and day-care centers started to close down (Gluck 212). Palestinian’s lives were beginning to fall apart with all the restrictions and they were not happy: especially the women. Women had been struggling the most because of their beliefs and traditions. Palestinian women have dealt with a harsh culture, in which they usually have to endure a different life from men.
In order to support their family, some families would rather have their daughters drop out of high school or not continue on to college so they could marry at a young age. Women are more sacrificed and are forced to wear more restrictive clothing than men (Gluck 212). Women’s traditional society has not yet changed since from their grandmother’s or their mother’s years. The fact still remains that men have had a higher status than women. One of the women’s main purposes in their tradition is to prepare their sons for the future in which they have to hold the responsibility of taking care of the money and the family (Warnock 20-21).
The women are automatically often thought of as being a wife and needing the protection of a man. Women were looked upon as fragile and not independent of a man. According to the men, the women’s job was to be the wife, and in exchange the men would support her with food and clothing. As stated in the Palestinian belief, once a woman got married, the wife grew independent from her parents and became dependent on her husband. If her husband happened to die, she must remain with his family. But if the husband happened to leave her or divorce her, she could go back to the care of her father or a male member of the family.
Throughout the year’s women have suffered through their share of hardships facing evacuation, family loss, and many more deprivations. Palestinian women went through a lot of difficulties turning them into victims; in which they had no voice and felt the preoccupation that their social position includes (Warnock 18). The women have been through pain and are often portrayed as powerless women. People did not specifically envision women taking charge and standing up for their rights and beliefs. Multiple groups of women have gathered and created committees to help other women overachieve in their ways of life.
The groups and committees were made for political progress to help the innocent people make changes in their lives. Women had begun to take charge with new programs and propositions to help the Palestinian people. Palestinian women have done programs to help the Palestinians move forward. Two women separately founded a Centre and a Committee dedicated to Women’s Studies (Gluck 211). Both committees were dedicated to undertake, support all the analysis and research of whatever the activist women’s committees required (Gluck 211).
Within the committees, the women accomplished different things. The Palestinian women tried to improve themselves by having discussions on books they wanted to read; they offered reading classes to illiterate the women. The committees tried to give women control over their own lives. If someone wanted to visit around their neighborhood, they would supply the people with an interpreter to go with them (Rigby 22). The committees tried their best to draw out the women’s strengths. Women started to speak out and people began to notice.
Women inaugurated the movement and spoke out at the conferences about their personal experiences and life stories. Just as soon as women were becoming more open with their way of life, the women’s organizations started to stumble. “Lip service was paid to the importance of dealing with sexual harassment, wife battering, and the resumption of early marriage and dowries, but still the women’s committees seemed unable to transcend their factional differences—a problem that historically has plagued feminist-nationalist movements” (212 Gluck).
Some people still had the idea of keeping women vulnerable and dependent on others. Women have been “perceived as weak, less intelligent, emotional, lacking self-control, amoral, unable to defend their families’ honour or deal with the harshness and complexities of the world outside the home” (Warnock 23). Women still took their stand and claimed that it was the women’s turn to have a say and control what they feel with no problem. With the war going on, they could not stand to be just seen as defenseless.
When the Israeli army came and invaded Palestinian’s homes, they did not care who they injured, even if they were women, just as long as they got what they wanted. Once they beat a woman who was pregnant just to get her house. The Israeli army beat her so bad that she lost her baby and her home (My Home, My Prison). They had to take action and do something about it. The movement of the women had brought many opinions into the air. On January 27, 2000 the first Palestinian woman exploded herself with a bomb to only kill one Israeli and hurting about a hundred others (Baraoud 36).
Women’s thoughts and actions had now been converted into something more powerful. They were also willing to provide support and stand strong within their own ideas, without being brought down. There are many different stories of woman that really took action upon this war. As the attacks kept on coming from Israel, it only made Palestinian women stronger. Raymonda Hawa Talil became more determined when the war between Israel and Palestine started getting to the extreme. Raymonda was born in Palestine and became an activist and journalist.
She definitely was one of those special women who stood up for what she believed in. When the attacks got real bad for the Palestinian people, Raymonda convinced her neighbor to accompany her to a meeting. Raymonda told her neighbor that if she stood there and did nothing she will die, and if she did something she would die as well, so she might as well die doing something good. Later on both ladies convinced the mayor and the Israeli government to provide the Palestinians at the refugee camps with food. In that moment is when Raymonda started to rise and take action.
She would hold meetings in her house inviting both the Israeli and Palestinian people. It was interesting enough that she was the only woman in the meetings and she was usually the one managing the meetings. Raymonda became a strong and powerful woman that she was always surrounded by journalists and was always the center of attention. The Israeli government did not like what she was doing that they put her on house arrest because she was risking military’s security. That did not stop Raymonda and she still managed to have people come to her home and keep things going.
Raymonda won great admiration from all different kinds of people because she was a woman and traveled around without her husband to protect her. Unfortunately Raymonda had to leave Palestine in 1985 due to a bombing to her car, which caused her to move to Paris with her family. Raymonda never gave up fighting for her people though even when she was under the worst conditions (My Home, My Prison). Other women as well had to sacrifice things and fought for what they believed in. Umm Raqayya is a hard worker and encouraged the activism for the Seamstresses’ Union.
Her house had been tear down by the Israeli army and right away she took action of looking for help. She went ahead and talked to “lawyers, the Red Cross and any other institution or agency capable of assisting the family and the community in these hard times” (Giacaman & Johnson 156). Raqayya wanted to make sure she was doing everything in her power to help out her people. She was one of the several of women that went against the representation of being the law-abiding woman that was required of them. Women’s participation in the activism for women’s movement was becoming important.
Having to change to the political life had been something that the women started to consider and become associated with it (Giacaman & Johnson 157). Within the Intifada, the woman has been given the role of taking care of her family. Women are expected to elevate “community-based health care, neighbourhood education projects, the ‘home economy’ and other forms of constructive work” (Rigby 2). Before the Intifada women had a role of maintaining their family’s honour by keeping her sexual purity. If she got married, there had to be proof of her innocence.
In the old days, the defloration of the women was a public event. In some cases male guests would watch through a window. Most of the time, the proof consisted of sheets with the stain of blood. Women are not able to show any skin, and cover up most of their body to confirm their celibacy (Warnock 23-31). Some women decided to take action with the conflict between Israel and Palestine. These groups were mostly the committees and groups of women that are taking a stand. There were areas where women made a “snatch squad” (Rigby 22) that were meant to rescue children and young people from the Israeli soldiers.
Those women could have been looked upon as heroes and courageous standing up to the Israeli army. That was not all some group of women did; they also attacked the Israeli soldiers. The women mostly attacked the soldiers when they would hold kids as hostages. “So the soldier doesn’t know whether to pay attention to the stones or the women screaming or the boys” (Rigby 22). The only bad thing about that kind of confrontation would be that sometimes, the women would be able to get away with it. Women are beginning to have a voice and take charge.
Having both the Intifadas happen has made women take a stand and actually try to fight it off. Even though it may not seem as if they are not doing much, they really are. Palestinian culture expects a woman to just be a housewife and not really do much. But with the woman making committees and organizing different kinds of events without the help of man, is a big step they are taking. Palestinian women are willing to sacrifice their lives for what they believe in; they are taking risks that no one ever thought they would. Not just women are taking a stand but they are influencing kids as well.
There is a song that they sing to support the Palestinians: Give me the flag of Palestine To wear on my forehead If they ask who I am I’m Palestinian. Put poison in my food; I’ll eat it If they imprison me I will not care. My prison is small. My victory is great. -Kids from Palestine (My Home, My Prison)