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Diaspora 8:1 1999 Proximity and Distance: Palestinian Women's Social Lives in Diaspora Celia E. Rothenberg University of Toronto This article focuses on how women in two Palestinian diaspora communities—one in Jordan and the other in Toronto—experience social ties to those they have left behind in the West Bank and to others within their adopted communities.1 This analysis allows for a synchronic comparison ofthe nature and effects ofthese diaspora locations on areas of social life that are central to women's daily lives. It is my hope that this study will complement other studies that focus on how living in a particular diaspora location diachronically , or across generations, affects an immigrant or exile community 's family and community formations (see, for example, S. AbuLaban , "Family"; Yousif). My examination here thus draws out how the diversity of diaspora locations shapes, and is shaped by, women's experiences. Though the Palestinian diaspora is often thought of as both an emotionally heart-wrenching and a politically vexing subject, questions as to how these dispersed communities shape, and are shaped by, the ties of family, community, and friendship have received little scholarly attention.2 The nature of social relations within Palestinian villages in the West Bank has largely been assumed to be determined by the genealogically defined requirements of the hamula, or extended family (see Abdo-Zubi; Rosenfeld); in-depth analyses of the texture and nature of the variety of social relations within villages are largely missing from the literature.3 Not surprisingly, an equally complex examination ofthe types offamily connections within and among Palestinian communities in various locations is also lacking. This project aims to contribute to filling these gaps and to the growing literature on transnationalism, diaspora, and deterritorialization (see Glick Schiller, Basch, and Blanc-Szanton; Lavie and Swedenburg; Tölölyan). While I do not present a typology of diasporas here (see Clifford; Safran), the attention I pay to emic4 notions of proximity and distance from the standpoint of various diaspora locations may be useful as a point of comparison for other scholars who think about these issues. 23 Diaspora 8:1 1999 I begin by briefly introducing the history and geography of these diaspora locations and the methodology that has propelled this research. Against this backdrop, I briefly outline the nature of women's social lives in the West Bank village of Al-Hosh.5 All the women discussed here have come from West Bank villages, settings that share the basic moral precepts found in Al-Hosh. This discussion thus provides a common frame of reference for understanding how the lives of those in diaspora have necessarily changed. I then move to an examination of the kinds of social ties found in the lives of some women in the diaspora locations of Jordan and Toronto. The History and Geography of the Palestinian Diaspora The recent history of the West Bank is one of foreign rule. Ottoman rule in Palestine, first established in 1514-1517, was reestablished in the 1830s and lasted until 1917. The British Mandate in Palestine stretched from 1917 to 1948. The state of Israel, established in 1948, did not originally include the West Bank, which was under Jordanian rule until 1967, when Israelis occupied the area. Israelis have slowly withdrawn from parts of the West Bank since 1995, a movement begun after the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in 1993. Many Palestinians from the West Bank fled immediately after the Israeli occupation in 1967; others left in the years following the occupation, looking to other countries for more work and educational opportunities. Palestinians who were residing outside of the West Bank prior to the Israeli occupation (1967) were not allowed to return after the occupation. In 1967 many Palestinians were living in Kuwait and other Gulf countries; the majority would remain there until the Gulf War in 1990-1991. After the Gulf War, however, Palestinians were pressured to leave Kuwait because of their support for Saddam Hussein's occupation. Palestinians had based their support of Saddam's invasion on their understanding that his occupation was "part of a grand design to shift the power balance against Israel" (Lesch 45). Although Saddam quickly...