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Hope is the dearest I possess

The study links between women’s economic, social and cultural sufferings. It concentrates on the poorest social strata of women within an integral debatable relationship between economy and culture. On an economic level, women’s sufferings, especially the ones with the poorest social strata are connected with the reality of the Israeli settlements and occupation. This directs the Palestinian economy to be dependant on the Israeli market and inhibits the growth of an Independent economy under Israeli policies of land confiscation, arrests, deportation, murder, loss of livelihood, and restrictions on people’s movement.

Such policies in turn increase the level of unemployment that negatively affects the Palestinian family as a whole, and Palestinian women in particular. The anxious and deteriorating economic situation is reflected upon women’s living conditions, increasing their burden, and their misery in the absence of a Palestinian state that would enforce the rule of law.

Some families, especially in villages and camps, prevent their girls from completing their education and get them to marry at an early age.

By this, they escape from their financial burdens, and protect their girls from the tragic consequences of movement whereby their lives are subjected to danger when travelling from one village to another for the sake of completing their education. Customs and traditions play an important role in the lives of women, and form a substitute to law in many instances. Despite the miserable living conditions that women live in, we find that some of them resist the difficult circumstances by trying to change this reality.

They confront the prevailing social culture in an attempt to challenge and change.

Published by: Palestinian Women's Research & Documentation Center/ UNESCO, Al-Bireh, 2010