International Handbooks on Gender series
Edited by Simona Sharoni, Julia Welland, Linda Steiner and Jennifer Pedersen
Chapter 18: Gender and resistance to political violence in Palestine and Israel
Using the term ‘political violence’ instead of ‘war’ to address the Palestinian–Israeli conflict underscores the asymmetrical nature of the conflict. A gendered analysis of the conflict, informed by a feminist examination of power, privilege and structured inequalities, is essential to understanding patterns of resistance to political violence in the region. Covering a span of almost three decades, the chapter maps the history of gendered resistance to political violence in Palestine and Israel. It begins with the recognition that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict is a deep-rooted asymmetrical conflict between occupiers and occupied and not a war between two parties on an equal playing field. Using feminist intersectional analysis, the author demonstrates how the fundamental differences between the sociopolitical, cultural and economic contexts in Israel and Palestine have impacted the modes of gendered resistance to political violence deployed by people in both communities. By exposing gendered and sexualized violence as connected to the violent structures of the Israeli occupation, activists in Palestine and Israel have ensured that gender and other inequalities and oppressions are taken into account not only in volatile times but also when conflict resolution initiatives are discussed. At the same time, the failure of dialogue and protest to put an end to violence calls for new strategies of resistance. The Boycott, Divestment and Solidarity (BDS) movement has the potential to radically transform the modes of resistance to political violence in Israel, Palestine and globally. An example of feminist solidarity, the BDS movement provides a clear vision and manifold opportunities to people worldwide to confront Israeli apartheid in support of the struggle to bring about a just and lasting resolution of the conflict.
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