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Date posted: August 18, 2020
By Tamara Tamimi

Abstract

Violence against women in Palestine at the hands of Israeli occupation forces and settlers is part and parcel of the wider framework of violence against the Palestinian people. Violence by occupation forces takes many different forms, some are evident and clear such as targeted killing and injury, as well as imprisonment. Other forms of violence are less pronounced but equally important as they pertain to the forcible displacement of Palestinians; these include house demolitions, house evictions, revocation of residency, land and property confiscation and imposition of restrictions on the registration of newborns.

While this violence is targeted against the entirety of the Palestinian people, including women, children and the elderly, it has a disproportionate impact on women due to reinforcement of patriarchy, traditional gender roles and stereotypes, as well as the reproduction of the cycle of violence by the stronger social group against the weaker social group, and signifying diminishing acceptance and tolerance to diversity and difference.

Violence against the Palestinian people as a whole has persisted for over fifty years despite the multitude of instruments and mechanisms to protect from violence in times of armed conflict. This includes instruments within the framework of international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international criminal law, as well as the women, peace and security agenda. Notwithstanding the multitude of instruments and mechanisms, their effectiveness remains constricted by a large number of factors including the absence of enforcement mechanisms due to the alleged primacy of state sovereignty, provided that this does not contravene the economic and geopolitical interests of a few select states. Another important factor is that these instruments are not designed to appreciate the impact of protracted occupation, and are instead tailored to armed conflicts that do not give rise to protracted military occupation and that are time-bound even if they persist for a long period of time, such as the wars in Yugoslavia and Rwanda. This paper seeks to highlight forms of Israeli violence against the Palestinian people, describe their disproportionate impact on women, analyse why violence persists against women in times of armed conflict, and identify stakeholders and recommendations to increase protection of women from violence in times of armed conflict.

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