Monday, December 18, 2006

WOMEN IN TERRORISM:a Palestinian feminist revolution or gender oppression.

December 9, 2006

Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S)

Women in terrorism: a Palestinian feminist revolution or gender oppression?

Dr. Anat Berko and Prof. Edna Erez


Women in Palestinian society are doubly oppressed, suffering from both
political and gender oppression. Both play a role in their involvement in
terrorism. In effect, two types of women participate in terrorist attacks:
those whose motives are political, for example those who oppose the
occupation or want to revenge the deaths of relatives, and are forced to
channel their activity through the gender construct of Palestinian Arab
society. On the other hand, there are those who try to rebel against the
repressive gender construct, and use the political conflict as a legitimate,
respectable cover for the rebellion, although the division is not absolute
and there are women whose motives are mixed.

The study revealed that the gender oppression from which Palestinian women
suffer, which includes forced marriage, multiple wives, restrictions on
movement and contacts with members of the opposite sex, and their being
considered child-bearing machines, has turned women into rebels, and that
rebellion is exploited by the terrorist-operatives who recruit them. The
fondest wish of such women is to make themselves more valuable and feel that
they belong and contribute to the national effort, and it cannot, in
reality, be achieved. The result is that such women, according to the
standards of the society in which they live, cannot be both terrorists and
"good women."

As opposed to the claim that women who are involved in terrorism are
progressive and liberated, the data of this study showed that they are
extremely conservative, firmly fixed in place by the norms of a patriarchal
society and that their roles as terrorists are secondary and marginal. It
would seem that in terrorism as in the Palestinian society which generated
it, there is a strict division of roles between the sexes, and that women
continue to obey the terrorist men who pull the strings. When the
Palestinian woman turns to terrorism the game is lost before it has begun,
because the sensation of freedom (especially in contacts with members of the
opposite sex) they have by participating in terrorism is temporary, and the
relations between the sexes in Palestinian society, of the ruler and ruled,
are transposed into the world of terrorism, according to the Arab model of
society from which they came.
(Full report with references at the URL above.)

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