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.