So, I’m travelling to Israel and Palestine in a couple of days – on Saturday the 9th, to be accurate. It’s a work slash family holiday: I’m visiting my family living there (in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem) and I’m writing a couple of articles from there, as well. As much as I would like to tell you what a wonderful, interesting, beautiful and WARM area that is, I’m trying to keep from doing that and instead sharing with you the idea of an article that I’m working on considering the relations between Israel and Palestine and more specific, women’s role in it.
A little background: It is essential to know the history behind the situation and conflict when first of all visiting the area but especially when writing an article considering it. As you know, the situation continues to be very difficult between Israel and Palestine. Both sides claim to have a historic right to the area – Jewish Israeli as the God chosen people and Palestinians as the original inhabitants of the area called Palestine that includes not only the West Bank and Gaza but also the present Israel as well as parts of Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Neither Israeli nor Palestinians are happy with the current borderlines, and the struggles, fights and attacks continue.
Well, of course there are almost as much ’truths’ about the justification on both sides as there are people living there. See for example these more or less funny videos:
I’m not trying to solve the conflict here. I have chosen a specific theme to study and write an article about: Women working for peace and solidarity in Israel and Palestine. There are female-led organizations on both sides of the border of West Bank that do charity, volunteer and promote peace between Israeli and Palestinians. My target is to find some of these women and ask about their thoughts, work and goals.
First I should mention you a Finnish contact of mine, Tuitu Pykäläinen. She is currently volunteering in Palestine as a peace observer via an international organization Eappi. Her main job is to observe at the checkpoints leading from Palestine to Israel and vice versa. She has given me valuable information on the women’s organizations on the district and on her job as well. I’m going to visit her in Jericho, Palestine, next week as well, and probably going with her team to observe a checkpoint. How exiting!
Back to the point: from Tuitu I heard of an organization called Women in Black. It was set-up by Israeli women, but is now joined by women all over the world. They are promoting peace with non-violent direct activism. So, I contacted Tamar Lehahn, a contact person of Women in Black in Israel, and asked for a meeting. Luckily, she answered right away! We have set up a meeting on Friday the 15th of May in Jerusalem, right before their demonstration that takes place every Friday at 1PM. I’m also going to take part in the demonstration and document it.
Here’s a short info video about Women in Black in Israel:
Through Tamar and Tuitu I am then going to search for ordinary women living in Israel and Palestine and ask about their views on first of all women’s position and rights on both sides, and how they feel the situation between the two sides, how does it affect their lives and so on. I’m of course interested also in the role of social media in the work of e. g. Women in Black, but also how do ordinary women use the internet and social media and if they face any violence there, especially if they take part in demonstrations such as the one of Women in Black.
So far I don’t have any answers to these interesting questions, but soon I hope I will have! I’m really, really, REALLY looking forward to this trip and meeting those amazing, courageous women.
Stay tuned, more to follow on this topic as soon as I’m there and have something to share with you!