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Mothers of the Intifada

  • By: Sophie Richter-Devroe & Fatima Al-Botmeh
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

In 1987, the continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, combined with increasing politicization of Palestinian society, provoked the First Intifada, a highly decentralized, predominantly nonviolent grassroots movement led by local initiatives. The Intifada's informal organization of popular committees had an approximately 50 percent female share, and an estimated 10,000 women joined the women's committees affiliated to the four main Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) factions.

Through the committees, women provided relief to Palestinian society, formed food and goods cooperatives to boycott Israeli imports, and, since schools were closed, set up a clandestine education system in their houses and community buildings. Palestinian women and mothers thus played a crucial role in politically, socially, and economically sustaining the First Intifada.

Leveraging Domestic and ...
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