I am a Palestinian woman in Israel — you don’t get to define my labels

Israeli Arabs protest in northern Israel for the rights of Palestinian refugees, Apr 2018. (photo: Ammar Awad / Reuters)

The mere fact that we live within Israel’s borders does not make us less Palestinian. We suffer from the same bitterly oppressive policies, even if our suffering is of a different nature and takes a different form.

By Maha Ighbaria | Haaretz | Jul 8, 2018


This is not the first time that I, a Palestinian Israeli, have fallen between the categories: Not Israeli enough on the one hand, as a Palestinian, and not Palestinian enough on the other, as an Israeli.


About a month ago I applied to attend a seminar for Israeli and Palestinian women to be held this summer in Germany. Two weeks later, I received an email from the organizers informing me that my application was rejected.

The reason, they explained, was that I called myself a Palestinian Israeli. The Israeli designation, I was told, was reserved solely for Jewish women and the Palestinian designation was solely for Palestinian women from the West Bank or East Jerusalem. So where do I fit in?

In the rejection letter, the organizers acknowledged the complexity of my identity as a Palestinian woman in Israel and were most apologetic about my having to pay the price for this complexity. But they were also insistent that the structure of the seminar had already been set and could not be changed at this stage. “We hope will we have other opportunities to meet in the political field,” they added.

Read the full article here →

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