Understanding the palestinian refugee women’s identity, and their role in reconciliation

The current study sought to explore how Palestinian refugee women (PRW) perceive their identity and how it can be employed as a tool of reconciliation. Specifically, the research explored the political identity of Palestinian refugee women to understand how it influences their reconciliation process. Palestinians are a group of the Arab population who previously occupied the territory now owned by the Israeli State and were forced to flee and live as refugees after the 1948 conflict. The UNRWA was formed in 1949 to assist individuals displaced from the 1948 conflict who were mostly Palestinians. The research objective was explored by analyzing Palestinians cultural and psychosocial perspectives. Due to the complex nature of the study, a mixed research method was used in which both qualitative and quantitative data were gathered. The data was collected over three years, with the researcher engaging with Palestinian non- refugee women living in Hussan village as well as Palestinian refugee women from Dhiesheh camp. In the first part of the study, existing literature on the topic is extensively analyzed to define key terminologies such as the definition of Palestinian refugees as well as reconciliation to place into context the cultural and traditional viewpoints. The UNRWA defines Palestinian refugees as persons or descendants of people who lived in Palestine between June 1st 1946 to 15th May 1948 and who lost their means of livelihoods and homes due to the 1948 conflict and hence, eligible for UNRWA services.In the second part of the study, the findings from interviews conducted as well as quantitative data gathered from questionnaires are presented. Quantitative data in this study were gathered from 200 participants, involving 100 Palestinian women who were refugees and lived in Dhiesheh refugee camp and another group of 100 Palestinian women who lived in Hussan village. Women recruited in the two groups all resided in the Bethlehem-West Bank-Palestine region.


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