Muslim women and (in)security

A Palestinian paradox

Authored by: Maria Holt

Routledge Handbook on Middle East Security

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138749894
eBook ISBN: 9781315180113
Adobe ISBN:


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The Palestinian–Israeli conflict, unresolved for almost 70 years, is a significant source of insecurity in the Middle East. It highlights the apparent inability of the international community to apply consistent standards of moral behavior when dealing with violent disputes. Worse, it indicates an international reluctance to engage constructively with political Islam. By focusing on the experiences of Palestinian women in the Occupied Territories and the Diaspora, this chapter explores questions of protection and empowerment. It asks how, in the absence of international concern, can women be enabled to overcome, or at least endure, violence and persistent insecurity in order to play a full part in processes of survival. Left to their own devices, women have had little choice but to rely on personal resilience and ingenuity within an environment of communal solidarity, first, by a recourse to Islamic activism; second, by their willingness to engage in acts of resistance against what they consider to be oppressive systems or regimes; and, third, by their refusal to internalize an identity solely defined by victimization. In other words, women have evolved their own strategies for survival. I will argue that global intervention, especially when applied to protect women from the violence of conflict, is a contested measure, unevenly applied.

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