Palestinian women have a long history of struggling on multiple fronts. Throughout the history of the Israeli occupation, women organized themselves politically, socially, culturally and also militarily in the national liberation struggle. They were involved in guerrilla actions, but they also resisted as political prisoners, as organizers, and as carers. They participated en masse in the popular uprisings known as the Intifadas. Today, too, Palestinian women engage in a variety of strategies and tactics, from educational work to protest actions to building bridges of struggle internationally. On a daily basis, Palestinians continue to defend their lands and homes from settler-colonial violence, as illustrated in what came to be known as the Unity Intifada in 2021.
In this episode, Dr Yara Hawari, a Palestinian feminist scholar, writer, analyst and activist, walks us through the decades-old history Palestinian women’s resistance against settler colonialism, apartheid, and patriarchal violence. Gendered violence, as Yara describes, is part and parcel of the militaristic Israeli state, which not only rewards hypermasculinity inside Israeli society, but also activates patriarchy in Palestinian society to control populations, including women. All of these factors shape the lives of Palestinian women and their everyday struggles for a life in freedom and peace.
Dr Yara Hawari is the Senior Analyst of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. She completed her PhD in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter, where she taught various undergraduate courses and continues to be an honorary research fellow. In addition to her academic work, which focused on indigenous studies and oral history, she is a frequent political commentator writing for various media outlets including The Guardian, Foreign Policy, and Al Jazeera English. Her debut novella, The Stone House, was published in December 2021.
Music: Palestinian Freedom Medley - Aya Halaf
This project is made possible through the University of Oxford’s Public Engagement with Research fund.