The Israeli occupation of Palestine creates a situation where everything is a question of belonging. Every day Palestinians have to deal with a system that claims that they do not belong. They are not able to move freely in their own country and need special permissions if the are to travel outside the West Bank or to Jerusalem. Even if they have a permit, traveling the 16 kilometres from Ramallah to Jerusalem can take more than two hours because of the Israeli checkpoints and the wall surrounding the West Bank. Traveling in Palestine you are constantly reminded of the segregation system that attempts to force the Palestinians out of their homes and away from their land. Roadblocks, checkpoints and the wall confine and control the Palestinian population while there are special roads for the Israelis.
Belonging somewhere situates a person in relations to the rest of the world; it is a sense of attachment to a place and often to the people in it. It is a reciprocal process between the person who belong and what she belongs to, a process of inclusion and exclusion. In Palestine everything is a question of belonging, and a question of what to belong to. Palestinians do not, for one second in their lives doubt that they belong to Palestine. But the complex political situation, where most Palestinians have little faith in the ability of their leadership as well as the international community to better their circumstances, they do question what is this Palestine that they belong to.
Palestinian women are caught in an intersection of oppressions. As Palestinians they live in a state of occupation, constantly restricted in their mobility, opportunities and thoughts. As women they are subject to limited rights and opportunities inside Palestine, where society’s view on gender roles are often very conservative. They are second-¬‐class citizens as Palestinians occupied by Israel and as women in a patriarchal society.
Therefore I find it interesting to explore the ways in which Palestinian women assert and sustain their political belonging to Palestine. The motivation behind this interest is the strong national community and the perseverance of the Palestinian women as I experienced it during my stay. I wondered why the loud voices of all the political aware women I met were not being heard in the setting of the formal political system, and what these women did to make up for this exclusion.
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