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Browsing by department "Institute of Development Studies"

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  • Kumpulainen, Heidi (2008)
    The purpose of this study is to examine the transnational women's activism in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), crossing traditional enemy lines, and the experiences different women have gained from this work. The topic is approached via a case study of the Jerusalem Link, composed of the Palestinian organization Jerusalem Center for Women and the Israeli organization Bat Shalom. The activism of the Link is based on the joint political principles, which the women constantly revise through their political dialogue. Furthermore, the Jerusalem Link advocates very strongly for the inclusion of women in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The research is based on a yearlong fieldwork in Israel and OPT in 2004-2005, its central source being 24 semi-structured interviews with Israeli and Palestinian women activists. The interviewing material was further complemented by participant observation and archival research. The focus of the research is twofold: firstly analyzing the institutional basis for women's activism, and secondly, the experiences of women active in the Link. Therefore, the nature of women's organizations in conflict zones and women's specific experiences during times of war have formed the theoretical angles through which the activism of the Link has been analyzed. These gender-specific experiences of war largely determine the forms women's activism takes both during and after conflict. Special emphasis in the examination of women's activism has been placed on the aspects of feminism, nationalism, and activism, and the interaction between these three themes in the work of the Jerusalem Link. Among the women studied, there were Israeli Jewish, Israeli Palestinian, and Palestinian women, and the study highlights the multiplicity of differences and divisions between them with regard to power, ethnicity and class, among other things. The research furthermore underlines the centrality of the Israeli occupation and the power structures it creates between women for the practical work of the Link. While ending the occupation is the main objective of the Link, the occupation also creates boundaries between women, affecting the ways in which women view and experience the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.