by Helen Schary Metro

Palestinian and Israeli Women Confront Gender Issues—But Not Each Other

In December 2003, a week-long conference entitled Gender: Order and Disorder, took place successively in Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem, and Ramallah. Israeli and Palestinian women passionately addressed issues common to both. Omnipresent in the background was the central reality of every woman’s life in the Middle East: the influence of the Palestinian/Israeli crisis upon their identity, aspirations, opportunities, their frustrations, and their tragedies. But no Israeli woman faced any Palestinian, nor vice versa. For although the conference was open to the public, in today’s political climate, Palestinians from the occupied territories are unable to travel to Israel for any conference, and no Israeli would dare appear in Ramallah.

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