Research studies

The insecurity of Palestinian women and girls

 

Prepared by the researcher  :  Jawida Mansour, MSc. Cultures and Development Studies, KU Leuven – Independent Researcher, Palestine

Democratic Arab Center

Journal of Afro-Asian Studies : Eleventh Issue – November 2021

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin. The journal deals with the field of Afro-Asian strategic, political and economic studies

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
ISSN 2628-6475
Journal of Afro-Asian Studies
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Abstract

Thousands of Palestinian women stagger[1] daily the tens of Israeli checkpoints that are distributed in many locations around the West Bank on their way to their workplaces, hospitals, schools, and universities. Passing through these checkpoints has never been a pleasant experience with unpredicted exposure to physical hardships and the constant threats of abuse. Despite the fact that the Israeli sexual assaults are part of their sexual colonial policy which target both men and women regardless of their age, Palestinian women in particular endure different kinds of physical and militarized racial violence from the Israeli soldiers based on their identity as Palestinian and a woman which affects their mental health and insecurity. But Palestinian women remain silent and voiceless most of the time.

Drawing upon the author’s personal encounter on an Israeli checkpoint, this paper aims at exploring the ways in which Palestinians were racialized; highlighting the multiple complexities of having a Palestinian female body that put them in lifetime insecurity and mental health vulnerability affect their everydayness mainly while passing through the multiple Israeli checkpoints. This will never be accomplished without analyzing the inner forces and the role of the Palestinian national struggle that hinder women from reporting Israeli sexual colonial violence, as such seeking a national perfection by keeping silent.

Introduction

 tracing the sexual assaults and violence of Israelis against Palestinian women and girls.

How can a woman liberate herself from her ancestral slavery? To disassemble herself from the ongoing colonial imperial monster? How to free herself from the subjectivity of her ethnicity? To emancipate from all socio-cultural cages that colonized her body? That are my big challenges of being, of residing in a Palestinian female body. Maybe it was escalated in 2013 at Qalandia Israeli Checkpoint while I staggered toward my workplace in Jerusalem. Or should I say I stepped forward in the journey to find answers? To reclaim power over my colonized body? What I am sure about is that I detached from the representations of my Palestine-ism. To borrow Fanon’s wording in his master piece ‘Black Skin White Masks’: ‘I catch myself hating the Palestinians’.

Since the construction of the Israeli apartheid wall in 2002, Palestinians need a permit to visit Jerusalem (Schnell, 2014). According to B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, there was a network of ninety-six permanent checkpoints in the West Bank by January 2017 operated by both private ‘security’ companies and the so-called Israeli (Defense)[2] Forces (IDF). Israeli checkpoints often increase frequently (Mansbach,2009; Amir,2013). These checkpoints include fifty-nine internal checkpoints carefully distributed around West Bank, and thirty-nine checkpoints allocated on the apartheid wall before entering Israeli areas[3] (B’Tselem, 2017). Israeli colonial policy on restricting the Palestinian mobility is unfinished since it’s expanded the sovereignty over the rest of historic Palestine including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem by enforcing more restrictions and checkpoints in order to protect the many Israeli settlements that were built on the confiscated land of the Palestinians (Giacaman et al., 2009; Longo et al., 2014). Further restrictions were added by constructing the apartheid wall after the second Intifada (uprising) that started in September 2000(Giacaman et al., 2007a, 2009; Mataria et al., 2009).

Between 2007 and 2014, my trip to my workplace in Jerusalem consumed in average two hours of my day albeit my work is twenty minutes’ drive from my residence. When I arrived to Qalandia Checkpoint, I showed my work permit to that (child)[4] Israeli soldier. I am very familiar with the procedures since I crossed it more than six years.

It was few seconds of a life, or a death, few centimeters of my private space violated my body and rested intentionally on my breasts. I tranquilly spat on his face. I was prepared to this before the creation of my kind, I am a martyr project[5]. He reacted overwhelmingly, but instead of fearfully shouted: “[M]ama, the nigger’s going to eat me up[6],” he pointed his gun at my face. How can an inferior savage Palestinian woman spat on his face? How can she outrage the violation of her boundaries, her body?

Had crossed Qalandia Checkpoint for years, it was not the first time I endured such sexual assaults. I heard soldiers sometimes commenting on my body and other women and girls’ bodies while we waiting our turn to be checked, but acted as deaf because I need to reach my workplace to earn my livings.

On the mob, voices of Palestinian men begging to surrender despite their awareness of what has happened. The unison requested me to behave like a Palestinian, with embedded slavery since the subjugation of my ancestral Canaanites on the hand of Israelites (Masalha, 2009: 58)[7]. Fanon (1952) notes on the embodiment and the effect of long-lasting history of slavery, “some identified me with ancestors of mine who had been enslaved or lynched: I decided to accept this. It was on the universal level of the intellect that I understood this inner kinship.” I saw in the women’s eyes disappointment; I am accused of something; am I a traitor? This situation left me broken, depressed for a month without knowing of whom I should talk with or seek consoling. I was left alone. And, it hurts; the fact of being booed of for refusing to be a victim of sexual harassment from an Israeli soldier. Perhaps, he touched the breasts of all women around but none spat! Have narrated this, in the rest of the paper I explore this battleground, on me, my gendered Palestine-ism and the Israeli sexual colonization.

Using sexual colonization as a mean of community subjugation and violence against women by harassing, raping or enslaving them for sex in the colonized geographies are very common tactics and highly welcomed and justified from the colonial regimes all over colonial history. For example, Imperial Japanese Army has enslaved an estimated number of 200,000 ‘comfort women’ in the detention stations which was justified by the Japanese government to reduce random sexual assaults in their colonies and enhancing the morale of the Japanese soldiers before and during the Second World War (Lynch, 2018). Despite the fact that the Israeli government ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)[8]  in 1991, this has no noticeable impact on its sexual colonial policy on the ground which represents a flagrant violation of its obligation to take appropriate measures, legislative and non-legislative, to prohibit all forms of discrimination against women. According to the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC) reports, the lives of the Palestinian women are severely impacted of the Israeli occupation as they suffer from sexual harassment and assault, discriminatory treatment of Palestinian female prisoners and being forced to give birth at Israeli checkpoints (WCLAC, nd). For example, many Israeli soldiers raped a Palestinian woman after illegally arrested her on a checkpoint and moved her to a police station in Jerusalem (Aljazeera, 2017)[9]. Khadija Khweis, a Palestinian activist, told about her exposure to phycological abuse when she was forced to remove her hijab (headscarf) in the prison cell with the presence of male soldiers which is a clear violation of the detainee’s privacy and freedom of religious belief.

Palestinian female students prefer to stay at home to avoid being harassed and humiliated at the checkpoints (Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 2009; Ryan, 2015; McKenna, 2015). Shalhoub-Kevorkian (2009) alludes other kind of violence including threatening these women with damaging their reputation through rumors and disclosing personal information which may impact their social relations and family ties. Hence, women and girls are experiencing economic, social and political burdens on the Israeli checkpoint in an embodied way. This embodiment brings about the feeling of insecurity as a permanent condition. For example, in a study of The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) the interviewees expressed their feelings of insecurity in relation to the ongoing conflict, the Palestinian society’s tacit acceptance of violence against women, their own lack of awareness of mental health service providers, and their distrust of the available services (DCAF, 2010). Despite the aforementioned discussions on reporting sexual assaults, different scholars highlighted that, in comparison with other human rights violations, Israeli sexual assaults are the least discussed in the Palestinian society (Saleh, 2016).

Israelis’ penchant to harass Palestinian women traces back to their early colonial project. Morris (2004: 220-238)[10], an Israeli historian, documents many Israeli atrocities including cases of rape and torture which committed by Israeli members to ‘pillage and terrorisation of the community’ during Nakba (the Palestinian Catastrophe) and the establishment of Israel in 1948 which resulted in displacing around seven-hundred Palestinians internally or regionally in the neighboring countries. Despite his argument that there was no centralised expulsion policy as such, expulsions were ordered by the Israeli high command as needed. He alludes those Arab fears of Jewish rape of their women contributed to the Palestinian exodus(ibid).

In the Palestinian heritage, many people also fled their villages based on rumors of raping their women in front of their sight. The violence against Palestinian women and girls is deemed acceptable under the Israeli national security to protect the state and to bring about some joyful moments for their soldiers. That match the narration of the Japanese Imperial Army example which was mentioned earlier. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the controversial military chief rabbi Eyal Karim has permitted to the so-called (IDF) to commit rape during wartime in 2003. The aforementioned rabbi justified his permission by adding it is “part of maintaining fitness for the army and the soldiers’ morale during fighting” (Ben Kimon, 2016). This was brought with outrage from many Israeli intellectuals and human rights organizations.

Moreover, tactically using sexual assaults as institutionalized maltreatment by the so-called (IDF) expose the Palestinian private space to the public as a mean of exercising power and authority (Dylann, 2019; Saleh, 2016). Mbembe(2003) uses the notion ‘necropolitics’ which was built on the biopolitics of Foucault to describe the Israeli social and political power to control and discipline Palestinians. For Mbembe, the necropolitics is not only the right to kill, but also the right to expose other people to death including own citizens. The Israeli necropower is being utilized on both the colonized body and the space to maintain surveillance on the indigenous Palestinian and preserve the Zionist colonial logic of ethnic erasure (Shalhoub-Kevorkian (2015; 2009). That is, to uproot those who by passing daily through checkpoints remind the Israelis of their existence. By offering Palestine as an example, Mbembe (2003:2) notes that “the colonial state derives its fundamental claim of sovereignty and legitimacy from the authority of its own particular narrative of history and identity.” Providing the biblical myths to prove their fundamental rights of colonizing and exploiting the human and natural resources of Palestine for been a ‘chosen people of God’ (Tal, 2008).

Since Foucault (2003: 241) asserts that the exercise of biopower is enabled by race, the Arab Palestinians are being racialized and entitled to the ‘Other.’ As Cesaire (1972, 20) notes that the colonial activity and the processes of colonization are not containable and inevitably impact all members of the society, Palestinian women have been endured different forms of racism. As Foucault (1978: 146) highlights the role of sex for being employed as standard for the disciplines and a basis for regulations, “Sex was a means of access both to the life of the body and the life of the species,” sexual colonial policy is being employed for decades on the colonized Palestinians. In that sense, Tadiar(1993;183) argues the embedded gendered and sexualized on colonial relationships, “the economies and political relations of nations are libidinally configured, that is, they are grasped and effected in terms of sexuality.” As such, the process of colonization constructs gendered subjects in current economic and political systems (Green,1995; Lawrence, 2003).

Shalhoub-Kevorkian (2015), by focusing on the everydayness of the Palestinian society, draws attention to the inherently gendered nature of the colonial power in an embodied way that reveals the nuances of Israeli colonial rule. Consequently, Crenshaw (1991) advocates for an intersectional approach that accounts for the overlapping of race, class and sex on the investigating the sexual violence against women of color arguing that it is inadequate to examine either the gender or the race of the women. Rather, it must include interactions between the two identities, which, she adds, should frequently reinforce one another. Therefore, Smith (2003) suggests that, the sexual abuses against Palestinian women is not just an attack on their identity as a woman, but on her identity as a Native. Elia (2017) provides a good example on this intersectionality that has happened during United Nations International Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985 when an Arab feminist was told: “[P]lease do not bring up Palestine in your speech… this is a women’s conference, not a political conference.” Other Palestinian activists endured similar experiences in different occasions such as (Abu-Assab and Nasser-Eddin, 2019) who indicate that “intersectionality seems more threatening than any other political standpoint in the case of Palestine.” Hence, Palestinian women are silenced not merely inside Palestine but also in other international platforms.

According to the existing Zionist scholarship, justifying all the humiliation and racial colonial practices including sexual assaults and violence by the need to securitize and protecting the state are closely linked to the ‘politics of fears’  and a ‘security theology’ that are deeply rooted in Israeli society (Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 2015; Makdisi, 2010; Robinson, 2013; Rouhana, 2006). This industry becomes influential in securing the colonizer’s authority over space, time and life of the colonized (Veracini,2010;Wolfe, 1999) and  allows the continuity of development of state security apparatus  in profitable investments after the privatization of the checkpoints in 2000 and employing security guards beside the (IDF) soldiers to control over the Palestinian bodies. Moreover, Ryan (2015) explains the dynamic of the checkpoints in the way in which they were transformed into a place for collective penalties or ‘temporary detention’ facilities using the testimonies of soldiers from Breaking the Silence[11]  in 2012 which demonstrate how checkpoints are frequently used to detain or delay Palestinians. Additionally, constructing the Israeli apartheid wall which Sa’di (2010) reads it as an extension of an initial Zionist racial ideology of expansion over the land rather than an act of self-defense. The state of Israel constructs itself as a state under attack and created this atmosphere of fear, hence, it frequently needs to ‘defend’ itself (Foucault, 2003; Robinson, 2013; Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 2015). Also, Mbembe (2003; 40) recognizes the colonial system as a racial one that intents to the destruction of persons and the creation of death-worlds, or zombies. Therefore, the condition of permanent racialization and vulnerable exposure to Israeli abuses influences Palestinian bodies in long-term insecurity. Also, it has a severe impact on Palestinian mental health. Nagamey et al. (2018) conducted a study that examined the psychological influences on Palestinians who repeatedly crossing Qalandia checkpoint. The study suggests three themes of influences that affected them at the individual level and the society at large. At the personal level, informants described deep feelings of distress and desperation as a result of daily humiliation, the feeling of non-existence and helplessness. The second theme focused on their mechanisms of dealing of this violence by avoidance and dissociation which the researchers identified as a maladaptive trauma coping style that is sometimes influenced their relationships with their peers. And, the last theme described the social fragmentation of the Palestinians’ solidarity in the sense that people felt unprotected and unsupported from their own community while experiencing violence.

The complexity of residing in a Palestinian woman body

Having discussed the history of racism in the Israeli state since its establishment in 1947-48, this has no changes in contemporary Israeli society as Stoler (1997, 59) argues that racism is a permanent part of the social fabric, “[R]acism is not an effect but a tactic in the internal fission of society into binary opposition, a means of creating ‘biologized’ internal enemies, against whom society must defend itself.” She notes that to ensures the growth of the national body, modern states constantly purify and eliminate the racialized enemies within that state, which in the case of Palestine the Palestinian Arabs. The racial order perpetrated by Israeli racial colonial project reorganizes the social structures and everydayness to produce differential treatment of human bodies manifested on the daily threats against their bodies, women and girls are not excluded (Shalhoub-Kevorkian (2009). However, tracing the lives of Palestinian women uncover the multiple complexities and limitation or absence of control over their own bodies, it belongs to the society.

In the Palestinian socio-cultural settings, women’s bodies and sexuality are treated as merely representation of family honour, reputation and status (Yuval-Davis , 1997; Saleh, 2016; Nasser, 2014). As growing up in chronic conflict, Palestinian girls are learning about the limited capacity of their families and communities to protect them from Israeli violence (Shalhoub-Kevorkian (2009). They are aware, I argue, of their “ungrievability.” Whilst the Zionist project draw a line between the ‘Jew’ and the ‘Arab.’ Whereby Butler (2009) raised the question: who are grievable and who are not? According to her, “an ungrievable life is one that cannot be mourned because it has never lived, that is, it has never counted as a life at all.” In that sense, the (child) Israeli solider had conceived my life as ungrievable and it is acceptable to terminate it. With the concept of ‘Precariousness and grievability’ and the condition of (war), perhaps the Israeli intellectuals and human rights organizations outrage of the soldiers’ rape permission that furnished earlier was not because it violates the Palestinian women rights, it was ‘un-Israeli.’ Butler (2009) offers the example of the conservative television pundits who argued that it would be ‘un-American’ to show the photos of Abu Ghraib which revealed the brutality torture and terrorism perpetrated on the hands of the American militants during the US ‘war on terror’ in Iraq and Afghanistan. In that sense, ordinary Israelis should never have a physical and verbal evidence that promote actions of sexual violence against Palestinians, they should not know how their religious figures encourage such practices.

Butler (2015) shows how the status of ‘war’ that a country like Israel has put itself in forged of their ideology of survival by terminating and destructions the life of the other. By bounding in an equal power of ‘grievability,’ in that sense, all humans will have a precarious life. However, targeting the Palestinians regardless of their gender is part of the Israeli state sexual colonial policy. Saleh (2016) asserts that the Israeli occupation in particular uses women’s bodies as an object of threat to control the Palestinian society. Therefore, the society becomes more conservative and stricter in women issues as a consequence of such practices. On the other hand, the risks of sexual violence on the checkpoints and the raping stories in the past perhaps arose fear of victimization and insecurity among Palestinian women. According to Ferraro (1996), rape is among the most feared types of victimization by women for its violent and extremely invasive nature. Moreover, fear is the consequence of one’s perceived risk of victimization which is felt by women more than men (Hale, 1996; Warr, 2000). Also, for women, fear of victimization equates to fear of sexual assault(ibid). Other studies on fear and rape found out that women tend to fear sexual assault by a stranger more than an acquaintance (Hickman & Meuhlenhard, 1997; Wilcox-Rountree, 1998). By reviewing some psychological studies, scholars indicate the impact of fear of victimization and sexual assaults on women’s mental health by increasing their depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other forms of trauma (Spohn et al. , 2017; Campbell et al. , 2009; Resick, 1993). Whereby, other Studies concentrated on time indicate that sexual assault trauma can have both short-term and long-term effects with victims suffering negative mental health symptoms for weeks, months, and even years after the assault (Campbell et al., 2009; Frazier, 2000; Girelli et al., 1986; Resick, 1993). Therefore, Palestinian women and girls are vulnerable to such mental illness whether on its short- or long-term consequences. That were also proved with the earlier reports from WCLAC and (DCAF, 2010).

On the other hand, Haraway (1991; 1992) draws attention to the construction and manipulation of ‘docile’ body, knowable bodies in our present social system. She elaborates that there are new kinds of bodies that is being constructed at the moment and enable the creation of gender-system out of our control. In that sense, Palestinian women and girls have been undergo this creation of ‘docile’ body since their Nakba in 1948. In other words, the Israeli racialization together with the patriarchal society have created submissive female bodies who are ready to be controlled leaving their bodies vulnerable to weaponization. Whereby, (Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 2015) alludes to the way in which the weaponization of Palestinian women’s bodies strengthens patriarchal views of ‘Isqat,’isqat can be translated as downfall, clarifies how women’s bodies have been used as weapons against the Palestinian national struggle, done so by attacking particular women victims and targeting gender relations in Palestinian society. A sexual abuse method used by Israelis against Palestinian women to collect ‘security information.’  Isqat in its symbolic meaning reveals how Israeli colonial power uses Palestinian patriarchal perceptions of sexuality and honor to breakdown social structure leaving women untrusted by their families and community. The victims of ‘isqat’ will endure another layer of trauma not merely of being sexually abused but also of positioning them against the national struggle and anti-colonial resistance (Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 2015, 2009; Dylann, 2019).

As fully explained, I hope, the colonial sexual assaults against Palestinian women and girls have been perceived as a national security threat, making it difficult for them to discuss their attack and seek post-assault support despite the unbearable impact of it in their mental health and everydayness.

Seeking National perfection by silence

For the past seven decades, the Palestinian society is in an attempt to prove its ‘Sumud.’ Sumud is not only a socio-political concept but also entails the ways in which the Palestinian society collectively survive in the context of Zionist occupation, chronic adversity, lack of resources and limited infrastructure (Marie et al., 2018; Schiocchet, 2011; Meari, 2011). This Arabic word is often translated into resilience or steadfastness; however, Marie et al. (2018) argues that resilience in the Palestinian conceptualization is a prerequisite to Sumud which means at the individual level, the person has to accrue resiliency to stay and not to leave his place, position or community. It needs personal efforts, capacity, and ecologies to achieve a collective Sumud, albeit, I argue it may consume his mental life without his consciousness, as according to Darnton (1985) mental life is similar to physical life that allows it to transform rapidly through time, often rendering itself almost unrecognizably distinct without any obvious signaling that it is the case. This acknowledged by (Afana et al., 2009) who confirm that around one-third of Palestinians have needed mental health interventions due to conditions of continuous adversities they experienced. Under this conceptual reality of Sumud, individuals are restricted to act and react toward their socio-cultural structure and bodies to be seen by others as a resilient society albeit it gives a space to maneuver resiliency. Sumud culture is considered a main social ecological source of resilience among Palestinian adults (Marie, 2015). It plays more significant role in women’s life as they face burden from the Israeli colonial authority and their daily struggles whether to provide their families or other socio-cultural burdens that need a space of negotiation to cope with (Salah, 2016). In many families in Palestine, the woman may take the role of a father and a mother in the cases of her husband death or imprisonment in Israeli jails. The struggle of everydayness to maintain a normal (if possible under colonial war infrastructure) and enjoyable life for themselves, their children and families, despite destruction, frustration and death around them (Abu-Lughod,2013; Richter-Devroe 2011; Allen,2008). Moreover, Ungar (2012) explains how resilience is culturally embedded and it is a complex multidimensional interaction between the individual’s capacity and his or her physical and social ecologies. Investigating the politics of everydayness in the Palestinian women lives enables a feminist reading of conflict as it draws our attention and awareness to routine, private and public spaces where power is both reproduced and contested (e.g., Alexander, 2005; Hooks, 2000; Stoler, 2002).

Despite the countless rape cases in Nakba that Morris (2004) has documented, this entire history has been suppressed by victims themselves in order to maneuver the rape stigma in the Palestinian society. The victims were muted. Addressing this issue was against the national struggle. Given this narrative, a woman’s body becomes not only her own, but preserves authentic Palestinian culture, thus belonging to the nation, and the national narrative rather than her as an individual (Pratt, 2009; Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 2015). Furthermore, the concept of Sumud is being criticized of over-romanticizing as a passive form of non-resistance that is focusing on survival only (Schiocchet 2012), and silencing Palestinians, women in particular (Peteet 1991, p. 153).

Therefore, examining the impact of passing through Israeli checkpoints as a daily routine for many Palestinian women and girls, uncovering the various types of sexual violence they encounter in their everyday lives, realizing the embodiment of the Palestinian culture and the control of their female bodies as a symbol of national struggle, all those components together will facilitate our understating on the ways in which Palestinian women transform their victimisation into agency to resist the Israeli violence (Salah, 2016; Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 2015; Pratt, 2009). In that sense, Palestinian women and girls are keeping silent to show the example of a ‘perfectionist’ national fighter.

Conclusion

Back to my battleground of emancipation, in that particular day of 2013 on Qalandia Checkpoint, I did not entitle the ‘ungrievable’ martyr. The soldier has received an order from his commander to not to shoot. But how many Palestinian women and girls are being murdered every day in these unstoppable Israeli sexual assaults. How many of them remain silent and voiceless on the various kinds of physical and militarized racial violence from the Israeli soldiers based on their identity as Palestinian and a woman?

The Israeli colonizer, had arrived to my land by an accident of history, or should I say as a continuity of the historic colonial trajectory of my kind, he astoundingly succeeded not only to control over the soil, the tree, but also he ripped away the Palestinian women from their bodies, left them with alienated ones; that is needed to be preserved as a last hope of freedom. Therefore, there is no right for a Palestinian woman to reconnect with her body under the longstanding Israeli colonization. She is stuck in limbo; haunted by her Palestine-ism. Should she reclaim power over her body? There is no difference of being biologically ‘dead’ or a ‘living dead’ or ‘docile’. But a woman cannot die twice, double death must be handled by one hand, or mouth. There was no option but to spit on the colonizer’s face.

In his short novel ‘Returning to Haifa[12],’ Ghassan Kanafani, while passing by streets full of blood and flesh, demolished homes, zombie bodies of his confiscated land, challenged his wife with his epic question: ‘what is a homeland?’ My Saliva, as part of my docile body, passed through same streets, same zombie bodies, and liquidated all past. By that it offered the same answer that Kanafani provided to his wife: “The homeland is where none of this can happen.[13]

To conclude, this paper discussed the extent to which culture, power, sex and colonization mediate the creation of a new gender system in our contemporary world by providing the case of Palestine as an example. It demonstrated the ways in which Israeli sexual colonization affect Palestinian women and girls and how Israeli soldiers’ practices of sexual violence empower patriarchy within the Palestinian society.

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The Coalition of Women for Peace , position paper, (2015).The gendered aspect of Israeli checkpoints in the OPT, available on https://whoprofits.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/old/mahsomim-english-web_final.pdf retrieved 6/6/2019

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Breaking the Silence: https://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/

[1] It is never a pleasant nor an easy task to cross an Israeli checkpoint, thus I prefer to use this verb rather than crossing or passing to explain my positionality.

[2] It is called “Occupation” Forces in the Palestinian narrative, the colonizer ‘occupy’ not (defend) himself.

[3] More about the conditions of Israeli checkpoints on B’Tselem: https://www.btselem.org/freedom_of_movement

[4] Having passed this checkpoint for almost seven years I noticed that the majority of the soldiers were very young. The majority of them are under twenty years old.

[5] (Mbembé, 2003) explains the extent to which an Israeli war infrastructure constructed a death world in Palestine in which Palestinians may take a life of an Israeli with them to live.

[6] In Franz Fanon: Black skin white masks

[7] See Masalah (2009) who explained the different narration on how Israelis perceive Palestinians.

[8] CEDAW According to the Convention, discrimination against women represents a violation of the principles of equality and human dignity, and is considered an obstacle to the participation of women, on an equal footing with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life of their country.

[9] A Palestinian woman tells the story of her rape by Israeli soldiers, available online at https://www.aljazeera.net/news/humanrights/2017/10/30/ retrieved 10l8l2020

[10] Cases of rape in chapter four: The second wave, the mass exodus, April–June1948

[11] Breaking The Silence is an Israeli NGO established in 2004 by veterans of the so-called Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to collect accounts of soldiers on their experiences in their service in Palestinian territories to educate the Israeli public about conditions in these areas.

[12] Returning to Haifa a fiction novel tells the story of a Palestinian couple who goes back to Haifa after the 1967 war to search for their baby, whom they were forced to leave behind in the Nakba of 1948.

[13] it is the same answer  the husband offered to his wife when they realized that their baby was also stolen and become an IDF soldier to explain that Palestine is more than son(body), olive trees, soil or Jerusalem.

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