There is an ongoing debate in feminist writing about the value of
special issues on women. Although they focus on women, they imply
that women's voices are unnecessary in a broader field. But women
do not think and write only about women's concerns. We have views
about edu¬cation, about the future of the Middle East, about
the Oslo accord and myr¬iad other subjects. In issues about
women, we read only about women con¬cerned with what is called
the women's movement or women's situation.
In fact, the most fascinating new phenomenon now is that, in both
Israeli and Palestinian societies, feminist activists and scholars
are asking themselves a crucial question: What is a feminist
agenda? Aren't questions like the meaning of democratization and
the definition of poverty as much femi¬nist issues as those
subjects which are usually categorized as women's issues?
Palestinian and Israeli societies, and the women in them, are of
course in very different situations, and the questions that are
important to women in each are necessarily different. Palestinian
women are not only trying to obtain access to power, but also to
define what power should be in a new, democratic state. Israeli
women are trying to interpret peace, not only as the end of war,
but also as a transformation of Israeli society from "nation at
war" to a pluralistic and democratic society. Women's views on
these subjects must be heard all the time and for that reason they
should be part of every issue of the Journal.
The articles published here seek to provide an insight into a clash
between two peoples, which has affected women at personal and
political levels perhaps even more than men. Different as they are,
women in both societies struggle under the double oppression, of
the conflict and of being unequals in a patriarchal society.
So in introducing this issue, in cooperation with my friend Suad
Amiry, we think it should be only the beginning of listening to
women's voices. In the future, they should be published alongside
men's articles in the Journal. And we trust that this will be the
last issue dedicated to women, because in the future we hope we
will not need one.