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  • Mada al-Carmel

Mada al-Carmel—Arab Center for Applied Social Research is based in Haifa, Israel, and was established in 2000. Mada generates scholarly research and critical analysis of Palestinian life, history, and politics, especially Palestinians living in a settler-colonial system within the 1948 boundaries of Israel. A leading home of local Palestinian research, Mada disseminates its results through publications in Arabic, English, and Hebrew. We also organize seminars, workshops, and conferences. Our research, outreach, and activism are attentive to gender dynamics on multiple levels. At its core Mada has fifteen professionals involved in research and administration, while its various events attract over fifty participants a month, the majority of them women.

The status, needs, aspirations, and views of the 1.4 million Palestinians in Israel are little known or considered in development of local and international policy. Mada aims to fill this information gap, draw the attention of policy makers, and generate informed and gender-sensitive discussion. Mada’s Survey Research Unit provides data and analyses on Palestinian public opinion in Israel for the purposes of research, advocacy, public discussion, and the development of public policy based on the needs of the community. Mada also analyzes state policies, as it publishes quarterly reports monitoring political developments in Israel’s policies vis-à-vis Israel’s Palestinian citizens. Jadal is Mada’s online publication. Mada’s newest program, the Israel Studies Program, is the only one of its kind, as it provides Palestinians in Israel opportunities to produce critical research on Israeli state and society.

Mada pays specific attention to the position of Palestinian women through its Gender Studies Program (GSP), a leading feminist program that not only produces counterhegemonic knowledge but also mobilizes societal efforts against injustice and oppression. In our study of Bedouin Palestinian women, we show how the dominant human rights frameworks of most nongovernmental organizations fail [End Page 248] them on a number of counts, because these frameworks do not address class and settler-colonial power dynamics. The GSP is currently conducting action-oriented research on women’s access to justice in the context of settler colonialism to address structural violence against women and to propose alternative modes of justice seeking. We do not use the terms domestic violence or intimate violence but rather violence against women, because we insist on acknowledging structural aspects of violence produced by a variety of patriarchal power holders. We analyze violence against women historically, politically, and economically. We argue that Palestinian women are hurt by violence inside and outside the home. This violence is not captured by terms such as domestic and intimate.

The main challenge Mada faces in its feminist mission is the culturalized and orientalist stereotypes that make invisible Palestinian women’s resistance to oppression. A second major challenge is the unique position of Palestinian women in Israel. Palestinian women in Israel face triple oppression: from masculinity in their own patriarchal society, from the settler-colonial state as Palestinians, and from the same state as women. Violence against Palestinian women, legal restrictions, and political and institutional barriers (state, customary, and religious) hinder their access to economic development and justice.

Nadim Rouhana, Director
Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Gender Studies Program Director
September 30, 2014 [End Page 249]



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pp. 248-249
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