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Palestinian Women and Resistance: Perceptions, Attitudes, and Strategies in the Bethlehem Governorate

Kayali, Liyana

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While the First Intifada (1987-ca.1993) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) is generally regarded as the peak of Palestinian women’s participation in the Palestinian resistance movement, the post-Oslo period has been characterised by a dramatic decrease in women’s participation. This decline stands at odds with the fact that the post-Oslo period has seen the consolidation of Israeli occupation and settler-colonialism in the Occupied Palestinian...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorKayali, Liyana
dc.date.accessioned2016-11-29T00:43:57Z
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/110701
dc.description.abstractWhile the First Intifada (1987-ca.1993) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) is generally regarded as the peak of Palestinian women’s participation in the Palestinian resistance movement, the post-Oslo period has been characterised by a dramatic decrease in women’s participation. This decline stands at odds with the fact that the post-Oslo period has seen the consolidation of Israeli occupation and settler-colonialism in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), and a substantial deterioration of the Palestinian situation. One school of thought attributes the decline of Palestinian women’s participation in resistance to wider ‘apathy’ and ‘stasis’ amongst Palestinians in the contemporary period. However, such assessments are reductive and fail to apprehend the particularities and agency of Palestinian resistance and how Palestinian women, in particular, negotiate these complexities. This thesis thus aims to contribute a more nuanced understanding of how Palestinian women in the post-Oslo period perceive, negotiate, and enact resistance. In particular, it focuses on Palestinian women’s involvement in nonviolent resistance, as although nonviolence is posited to open up spaces for women’s involvement in resistance, Palestinian women have also retreated significantly from nonviolent actions in the contemporary period. To this end, the thesis is framed by a conceptual approach bringing together feminist, social movement, and nonviolent action theorising, and draws on extensive ethnographic fieldwork conducted with women in the Bethlehem governorate. The resultant analysis demonstrates that, far from being ‘apathetic’, Palestinian women remain deeply committed to the goals of national liberation and wish to contribute to an effective popular resistance movement. Yet many Palestinian women feel alienated from prevailing forms of collective popular resistance in the OPT due to the low levels of legitimacy they accord such actions in their current forms. This alienation has been made stark by the gendered and intersecting impacts of expanding settler-colonialism, tightening spatial control, a weakened and depoliticised civil society, Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) repression and violence, and a deteriorating economy - all of which have raised the barriers Palestinian women face to active participation. With any form of resistance (including nonviolence) now entailing great risk, women necessarily limit their participation to those actions they see as legitimate and likely to create meaningful change. For the women interviewed, the legitimacy accorded to particular resistance actions depends on a) the motives of those involved (e.g. whether they are seen to be acting out of national/community concern, or self-interest/ego); and b) whether activities are authentic (i.e. have not been influenced and/or funded by the PA or foreign donors). What the women perceive, therefore, is a legitimacy crisis within the Palestinian resistance movement. However, rather than turning away from resistance altogether, this study finds that Palestinian women envision and enact alternative nonviolent strategies whose methods are largely individualised, indirect, and incremental, but aim at a sustainable transformation of Palestinian society and polity. This thesis thus offers crucial insight into the current reality of Palestinian women’s participation in resistance, and contributes an approach that moves beyond the ‘visibility bias’ of dominant approaches to social movements and nonviolence.
dc.format.extent1 vol.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherCanberra, ACT : The Australian National University
dc.rightsAuthor retains copyright
dc.subjectNonviolent resistance
dc.subjectPalestinian women
dc.subjectBethlehem
dc.titlePalestinian Women and Resistance: Perceptions, Attitudes, and Strategies in the Bethlehem Governorate
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.institutionThe Australian National University
local.contributor.supervisorMason, Victoria
local.contributor.supervisorcontactV.Mason@murdoch.edu.au
dcterms.valid2016
local.description.notesauthor deposited 29/11/16
local.description.refereedYes
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued2016
local.type.statusAccepted Version
local.contributor.affiliationCollege of Arts and Social Sciences, The Australian National University
local.description.embargo2024-11-29
local.request.emailrepository.admin@anu.edu.au
local.request.nameDigital Theses
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d514651e2391
dcterms.accessRightsRestricted access
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsRestricted Theses

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