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Occupation, conflict and patriarchy: impacts on Palestinian women

DDecades of occupation and militarisation, periodic escalations of hostilities and Israeli policies of blockade, segregation and control that run contrary to international humanitarian law and human rights have had severe consequences for the Palestinian population and have affected the lives of Palestinian women in specific and multifaceted ways. Most of them have lived their entire lives or most of their lives under occupation and in a context of prolonged conflict that continues to cause death, population displacement, the gradual deterioration of the human rights situation, high levels of poverty and unemployment and serious health problems. Their experiences of occupation and conflict have also been conditioned by unequal gender relations in a traditional and patriarchal Palestinian society that determines specific vulnerabilities, limitations in the exercise of rights and inequalities in access to resources and opportunities due to the stereotypes and expectations regarding the roles that men and women should play. Therefore, in their everyday lives, Palestinian women face multiple forms of violence and discrimination, both in the public and private spheres, in one more manifestation of what feminists, in their analysis of women, war and peace, have identified as a continuum of violence.

Without claiming to be exhaustive, this guide is intended to illustrate the range of forms of violence experienced by Palestinian women and its impacts, taking into account the repercussions of various Israeli occupation policies such as military operations, crackdowns on protests, settlements, raids, house demolitions, arrests and detentions, as well as the gender dimension of forced displacement and the problems that Palestinian women face in access to health, education and justice in a context shaped by the occupation, but also by the norms of a patriarchal society where discrimination and worrying incidences of gender violence persist.

Report in English here. This publication is also available in Arabic, Spanish, English and Catalan.

Author: Pamela Urrutia Arestizábal
September 2019
Escola de Cultura de Pau – Associació Hèlia


This guide is the companion to another report entitled Women, peace and security: implementation, challenges and limits in Palestine. Both publications have been issued as part of the project “Involving the whole community in the fight against sexist violence and the guarantee of sexual and reproductive rights of Palestinian women in Hebron, Qalqilia and Tubas (West Bank, Palestine)”, led by Associació HÈLIA and funded by the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation (ACCD).