Based on a report published in the year 2005, the escalating violence and killings inIsraeland theOccupiedTerritorieshad brought untold suffering to the Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations in nearly four and a half years. More than one hundred and fifty Palestinian women had been killed during this time byIsraelforces. On the other side, approximately three hundred Israeli women had been butchered by Palestinian armed groups. And, of course, women on both sides had also lost their families, including their husbands and children. Besides, many had lost their homes (“IsraelandOccupiedTerritories,” 2005).
There had been an increased militarization of the conflict since the beginning of the Intifada. Palestinian women were already dealing with violence at home, as they came from the traditional patriarchal society ofPalestine(“Israel”). Now they also had to take up arms and turn into suicide bombers in order to take revenge on behalf of their murdered children and other vulnerable sectors of society. Israeli women, too, had to join the military forces at home so as to fight and destroy the enemy (Halpern, 2002). In the process, no doubt, there was an increase in the number of lost lives.
Research reveals that each of the sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict has utilized women in ways that were unique to the culture from which they came. Micah D. Halpern writes:
True, the United States sent women soldiers along with men to the shores of Muslim territory during the Gulf War and one female helicopter pilot was even taken a prisoner of war, but for the most part – against their say – they were kept hidden from the public eye. In this conflict, they are front and center.
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