Palestinian Refugees: A Gendered Perspective

Nof Nasser Eddin

Keywords

Palestine; women refugees; feminism; feminist methodology; Zionism; Palestinian refugee camps
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Abstract

This article argues that the situation of Palestinian refugees is still relevant till this day. There are around five million refugees living in neighbouring Arab countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt, as well as neighbouring areas in Palestine itself, like the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under very precarious conditions. Their situation is extremely unstable as any changes in the region can influence them directly.

The need to address this issue is particularly important because Palestinian refugees (as well as internally displaced Palestinians) have been both historically and politically marginalised. In particular, I will argue for a need to gender the debate around the Palestinian refugees, because the distinct experience of women Palestinian refugees has been overlooked within this context. Most literature has focused on the Palestinian refugees as a holistic population, which assumes all refugees share the same struggle. However, understanding the position of women within the context of the refugees and the unique struggles they face is essential to understanding their particular experiences as refugees and in highlighting their differential needs; this is why a feminist perspective is needed within the field of refugee studies.

This article is based on a feminist journey drawing on research interviews with female Palestinian refugees in camps in Jordan, and with Syrian Palestinian women in Turkey, Jordan and Europe.

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