Feminism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Diane Balser and Marcia Freedman


Both in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories, there is an active and long-lived feminist movement (among Palestinians since 1948, among Israelis since 1918) that, since the beginning of the first Intifada in 1988 has played a significant role in maintaining open lines of communication and dialogue, joint actions as feasible, and moving forward a common peace agenda. Moreover, both movements have successfully pushed the envelope of public policy. A co-sponsored week-long conference held in East Jerusalem in 1996, for example, was held under the slogan "Jerusalem: One City for Two States". This was the first time that this concept had ever been floated publicly, and it has since become accepted public policy.

What is the role of feminism and a feminist analysis in informing women's peace movements? Is it a generalizable phenomenon? Why doesn't the wider peace movement recognize the special nature of the women's peace movement and it's potential contribution? What role has international Jewish feminist solidarity played as the conflict has been engaged in such international forums as the UN conferences on women? How has female leadership in Brit Tzedek affected our organizational culture. Is there value added to all efforts toward peace by the equal participation of feminist women.

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