Mada Al-Carmel – the Arab Center for Applied Social Research held its 2021 Annual Conference at Umm El Fahem Theatre and Cinematheque on July 31st. This year’s conference, entitled the “Political and Social Approaches between the Covid-19 Pandemic and the current uprising,” addressed and discussed the political and social implications of the current pandemic and the popular uprising on the reality, future and the challenges imposed on the Palestinian society in Israel. This conference is part of the academic activity through which Madal Al-Carmel Center seeks to generate focused knowledge on the Palestinian cause as well as showcasing the concerns of the Palestinian people. The conference showcased remarkable progress in its presentation, its knowledge approaches, its organization and its attraction of hundreds of researchers, on both the Palestinian and Arab world levels.

In his speech, Dr. Samir Subhi, Mayor of Umm Al-Fahem, welcomed the audience and and Mada Al-Carmel Center staff. He spoke from his position as a mayor, on fundamental problems that are facing the Palestinian community. Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, chair of the Mada Al-Carmel Board; spoke after the Mayor, where she encouraged research and editorial writing. She praised the path that Mada Al-Carmel is taking towards emancipating from the dominant theoretical formats and promoting Palestinian intellectual cognitive production that challenges and undermines the Israeli narrative. Dr. Ayman Egbarieh, lecturer at the Faculty of Education at the University of Haifa, and member of the Academic Committee of the Conference, chose to resort to art works by recalling the painting “The Triumph of Death” by the Dutch artist Peter Bruegel the Elder, to refer to the intersection between pandemics and wars, as apparent in the Palestinian reality. 

Dr. Mohanad Mustafa, General-Director of Mada Al-Carmel, gave an opening speech entitled: “The Political Orientation of the Palestinians in Israel after the Uprising,” where he reviewed the results of a poll conducted by the Center to understand the causes of the popular uprising and to understand the shifts in the political stances of the Palestinians in Israel following the uprising.

The survey shows that 60% of the participants see the events of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Sheikh Jarrah as the central factor that caused the outbreak of the uprising. According to Dr. Mustafa’s analysis, these findings reveal the centrality of Jerusalem as a religious and a political national symbol, showcasing that these political practices are similar to other practices in other parts of historic Palestine. Jerusalem is the starting point in which the popular resistance started from, as it is a meeting point of the Palestinian people holding different political perspectives, and it is the place that holds the Palestinian amputation together. Another important result of the survey is that 48% of the participants consider that the role of the Arab parties in the recent uprising was minor. Mustafa explains that this uprising arose during a weak point in the Palestinian political status in Israel, and therefore the uprising took place without the direct or the indirect influence of the Palestinian political parties. The Centre plans to publish the remaining results of the survey with an analysis in the Annual Conference report in the coming days.

Professor Amal Jamal, lecturer and researcher in the Department of Political Science at Tel Aviv University and member of the Academic Committee of the Conference, chaired the first session entitled, “The Militarization of the Palestinian Community between the Corona Pandemic and the Current Intifada.” During the session, the representative of “Who Profits” Research Center, and political economy researcher, Hala Marshoud, presented a statement entitled “Israeli Security and Military response to the Pandemic: significance and implications”. She claimed that Israel’s settler colonial system attempts to militarize and nationalize all civil sectors. The crisis was exploited towards militarizing and nationalizing the health sector, through the intervention of military and police officers in civil matters, and through combating the pandemic using the Israeli security system and military agencies. This intervention exceeded to use intelligence units, and manufacture health and surveillance equipment by using the military knowledge in High-tech and Cyber companies, as well as the Israeli weapons manufacturing companies. 

Dr. Nijmeh Ali, Research Fellow at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Research at the University of Otago, New Zealand, shared a statement entitled “Militarized Technology for the Corona Pandemic: “Smart” Surveillance, big prison and “the Israelization of Surveillance”. Dr. Nijmeh tried through her statement to explore the impact of the application of comprehensive surveillance mechanisms, that have been used during the pandemic period, on future Palestinian behavior, linking it to a new type of weapon under technological authority, and connecting it to a new Israelization method amid militarized technology, which essentially aims at disciplining which she called the ‘Israelization of Surveillance’. 

Dr. Ali set forth the most important military manifestations of the Corona Pandemic: granting new powers to deploy soldiers in public spaces, expanding the powers of Shabak (the Israel Security Agency) – legally and legislatively, sorting military medical staff in active facilities, mobilizing army intelligence teams, and employing military technology. Further, Dr. Ali touched on the surveillance methods used in the recent popular uprising: internet censorship, digital safety: facing bans, using cameras, geographic positioning, filming and self-dissemination.

The Arab Deputy Sami Abu Shehada, Knesset Member for the National Democratic Alliance within the Joint List, commentated, noting that Israeli surveillance and espionage mechanisms that exist permanently, are an axiomatic of the regime, and the normal situation there. The Deputy explained the absence of any kind of separation between the society and the army in Israel, makes the State treat the army as the only institution capable of managing any kind of crisis.

Dr. Youssef Jabarin, jurist and former Member of the Knesset for the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality within the Joint list, also offered a critique in the same session. Jabarin criticized dealing with the latest uprising by only focusing on military security methods rather than focusing on the civil methods that any democratic society has to adopt in dealing with civil and legitimate mass protests, even if these protests have taken on a national dimension.

The second session, entitled “Arab Education Amid the Corona Pandemic,” was chaired by Professor Sarab Abu Rabeea-Qwider, Lecturer at the Department of Education at Ben Gurion University, and member of the Academic Committee of the Conference. Taghreed Zubi, educational consultant and doctoral student in the Department of Education at the University of Haifa, shared a statement entitled “Arab Teachers’ Stances Towards Online Learning Amid the Corona Pandemic.” Zubi claimed that the whole teaching system was not ready for online learning, nor were teachers ready and able to teach using technology. This is particularly evident in the Arab education system, which suffers from weak technological infrastructure. In his intervention, “Arab Education in the Negev Amid the Corona Pandemic,” Khalil Dhabshah, Principal of ORT school in Kasifah town in Negev, revealed that tens of thousands of students in Negev have been dropping out of school because the vast majority of them are not ready and are not able to own the means for online learning. Students from Unrecognized Villages were the most affected by the closure of the education system, owing to the lack of infrastructure in these villages and the severe lack of any means of online learning. Further, the crisis revealed that Unrecognized villages lack any kind of services, because there are no responsible authorities or institutions formally formed to manage crises nor providing the necessary support and rationalization to thousands of families living under the Pandemic.

Mr. President Sharaf Hassan, Chairman of the Committee for Monitoring Arab Education Issues called on the civil society and Arab teachers to liberate themselves from the mental inability and to initiate, by calling for a change in the ideological and intellectual dimension of their learning process, their perception of their position and their role in challenging the difficulties caused by the Corona Pandemic. Dr. Hassan asked each teacher to see himself/herself as an intellectual and a responsible leader, not a tool for passing on materials identified only by the Ministry of Education. In the same session Nadeem Al-Masri, Chairman of the National Committee of Arab Parents of Students in Israel, stated that the Ministry of Education was not ready for any kind of emergency other than security related emergencies, and of course it wasn’t ready for the Pandemic. He also added that the Ministry of Education had dealt with the needs of Arab schools in the recent uprising through a policy of neglect, as students were not safe to travel in Arab and mixed towns. Arab schools lacked infrastructure, safe buildings, and shelters. Students were not provided with any kind of psychological or emotional support in the aftermath of the events. Almasri added that the Ministry of Education has also prevented experiencing freedom of expression, by preventing discussion about students’ identity or the current events.

The third and final session of the Conference entitled “Social Violence and Jerusalem Amid the Corona Pandemic,” was chaired by Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, President of Mada Al-Carmel Board. Lubna Elenat Khalayleh, PhD student on “Educational Management” at the Arab American University-Ramallah; participated in the session with a statement entitled “Violence against Women during the Corona Crisis.” Khalayleh stated that the problem of the increasing frequency of violence against women in the Corona Pandemic had been compounded by a number of factors; the conditions imposed by the Pandemic through social isolation and domestic confinement with violent men, in conjunction with the loss of livelihoods, pressure, economic and health concerns provided fertile ground for violence against women.

Mr. Bassam Hamdan, Director of the Social Services Section of Judeide- Maker municipality, commentated saying that the phenomenon of violence against women cannot be studied in isolation from the political, economic and security context. Men’s practices of violence against women are manifestations of the hegemony and domination of Palestinians by the Israeli repressive colonial regime. He called for a change in the approach and methods of intervention, the need to recruit the Arab man and the perpetrator for treatment and the request for assistance, rather than simply settling for only raising women’s awareness of their rights. He indicated that this could be achieved through the development of a comprehensive vision starting from schools and continuing onto the remainder of the social frameworks in each country.

Reham Samana, Master’s student in Literature and Intercultural Communication at the Arab American University in Ramallah, presented her statement entitled, “The Composite Exception within the Old City of Jerusalem during the Period of the Pandemic.” Samana noted that the Occupation had increased its colonial practices during the period of the Pandemic in the Old City of Jerusalem, as crises were often a fuel for the dominant power to increase its control over vulnerable groups. These practices were demonstrated by the increasing excessive colonial violence on the citizens and their place, such as partition, isolation, demolition, issuing fines and imprisonment. Samana claims that all these and other actions were aimed at fusing people’s consciousness, causing them to be easily defeated and be convinced of the futility of the struggle resulting in accepting such reality. 

In commenting on this statement, Dr. Suleiman Egbarieyh, who is responsible for the Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa file in the banned Islamic Movement in Israel, and the former Head of the Municipality of Umm Al-Fahem, stressed that the number of deportations of Palestinians from the Old City and the Al-Aqsa Mosque has been on the rise since the beginning of the Pandemic. He also noted that the shopkeepers had not had access to their shops because of the restrictions. Finally, he spoke of increasing rates of arrests and infractions during the pandemic as part of a policy of intimidation in the Old City of Jerusalem. 

In person attendance – 100 +

To watch the opening and first sessions: Number of viewers – 2800

To watch the second session: Number of viewers 680 

To watch the third session: Number of viewers 600 

Dr. Ahmed Amara


Dr. Areej Sabbagh-Khoury


Mrs. Afnan Ighbaria


Dr. Ayman Agbaria


Mrs. Enas Odeh-Haj


Dr. Johnny Mansour


Dr. Khaled Abu Asbah


Mrs. Raghda Zoabi


Dr. Rawiya Abu Rabia


Mr. Sumaya Sharqawi


Mrs. Abeer Bakr


Mrs. Areen Hawari


Mr. Alaa Mahajna


Mr. Mohamed Mayari


Mr. Mahmoud Muhareb


Dr. Mahmoud Yazbek


Professor Marwan Doueiri


Professor Mustafa Kabha


Mrs. Manal Shalaby


Dr. Mohanad Mustafa


Professor Mikhail Kereny


Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian


Professor Nadim Rouhana


Dr. Honaida Ghanem


Dr. Areej Sabbagh-Khoury

Mrs. Afnan Ighbaria

Dr. Johnny Mansour

Mr. Alaa Mahajna

Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian


Every year, Mada’s conference focuses on an aspect of Palestinian life and reality in Israel- this year’s conference is entitled “The Palestinian Political Sphere – Leadership Transitions and the Role of Parties: Organization vs. Representation”. Mada al Carmel’s 2020 annual conference had been due to take place in March, but the Coronavirus pandemic forced the center to postpone it. When rescheduling it for October, the center took the decision to spread the conference’s three sessions over three different days in order to more effectively adhere to public health regulations, with the sessions being broadcast online.

A range of prominent academics, politicians and activists will take part, and will discuss the seven different research papers being presented at the conference. These papers are to be distributed in a collected volume by Mada al-Carmel, free of charge. The conference will be opened by Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, head of Mada al-Carmel’s managerial board, and the inaugural address will be given by Dr Mohanad Mustafa, general director of Mada. He will lay out the scope and framing of the conference, and the landscape of contemporary political shifts and transitions.

The first session of the conference is entitled “Shifts in Political Leadership and Discourse” will commence at 10am on Friday, 23rd October. The session will be chaired by lawyer Ali Haider, an academic and human rights activist. In it, Professor Amal Jamal, lecturer and researcher in the Department of Political Science at Tel Aviv University, will present his paper entitled “A Paradigmatic Analysis of Palestinian Elites and Leaders in Israel: How Have Sudden Changes Affected Representativeness?” Dr Mansur Nsasra, lecturer in International Relations at Ben Gurion University, will also be presenting in this session. His paper is entitled “Changes in the Palestinian Political Landscape in Israel after Oslo”. These two papers will be followed by a talk from Dr Heba Yazbek, an MK for the Balad party in the Joint List.

The second session of the conference will start at midday on Saturday 24th, and will be entitled “Economic Approaches and the Role of Parties”. The session will be chaired by Dr Ramez Eid, a researcher and lecturer in Political Anthropology and Human Rights. In the session, Dr Sami Miaari, lecturer at Tel Aviv University, Oxford University, and director of the Arab Economic Forum, will present his paper on how economic changes affect Palestinian Arab voting behaviors in Israel. Following this,  Mohamed Khalayleh, researcher at PhD student at Haifa University, will present his paper “The Declining Power of Political Parties in Local Politics: Between the Constant and the Variable”. Dr Said Suleiman, an independent researcher and lecturer in the field of Geography, will discuss his paper, reviewing the role of Arab parties in nurturing political participation. Representative Aida Touma-Sliman, a member of the Knesset from the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Hadash) in the Joint List, will conclude the session with a discussion of the three papers.

The third and final session, “Post-Politics: A Feminist Approach” will take place on Sunday, October 25, at 6:00 pm. The session will be chaired by a member of the Research Committee at Mada Al-Carmel, Dr. Ayman Agbari, with the participation of Khaled Anabtawi, a PhD student in sociology and anthropology at the Graduate Institute in Geneva with his paper “Approaches to the Question of Palestinian Politics in Israel: A Reading of Crises and Transformations” Dr Areen Hawari, researcher and coordinator of the Postgraduate Student Support Program at Mada al-Carmel, will present her her paper “The Religion and Politics of Leaders in the Islamic Movement: A Feminist Approach”. Providing comment on these two papers will be Mrs. Heba Harish Awada, an educational consultant, social activist, and researcher.

For the conference program (in Arabic), please click here.

Mada has concluded its most recent series of workshops on Zionism and settler colonialism, six sessions of which were convened over the past year and a half. These workshops are run for training and research purposes, primarily for the benefit of Palestinian postgraduate students participating in Mada’s PhD student support program. The main aim of these workshops is to study Zionism as a settler colonial project, and to help the participants to develop and express their own academic ideas and critical writing on the topic. The workshop serves an important function by acting as a space where Palestinian researchers from both sides of the green line can meet, debate, read texts, listen to lectures and produce papers together.

The workshop series is headed up by Professor Nadim Rouhana, a research associate at Mada, and coordinated by Dr. Areen Hawari, who is also the coordinator of the PhD student support program. The first three workshops of this series were conducted face-to-face, but after the introduction of Coronavirus restrictions the remaining sessions were held over Zoom. Mada strove hard to maintain continuity and minimise the disruptions brought by the pandemic.

Prof. Rouhana said of the workshops, “It’s important to remember that this is the third workshop series that we have put on, meaning that we have provided support to a huge number of Palestinian PhD students over the years. We have created a space for critical thinking and writing about Zionism and settler colonialism, and we work to link our intellectual output to wider anticolonial and antiracist scholarship around the world. This kind of discussion on Zionism was considered to be relatively new when we launched the first iteration of the workshop in 2014; today, it seems to be more dominant in academic and intellectual discourse, and even feature in progressive political discussions. We are very happy to have made a contribution, however small, to this development.”

The workshops included lectures on Zionism and colonialism, Israeli society, and modern Palestinian history. These were given by internationally renowned Palestinian academics and researchers from both sides of the green line, including Dr. Areej Sabbagh Khoury, Dr Hunayda Ghanem, Prof. Amnon Raz Krakotzkin, Prof. Nadim Rouhana, the lawyer Suhad Bishara, Dr. Ahmed Amara, Dr. Awad Mansour, Dr. Saleh Abdel-Gawad, Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Dr. Hammamet Zoabi, and Dr. Mohanad Mustafa.

Prof. Rouhana also said that Mada is working in partnership with a section of the workshop participants and guest researchers to publish a book; this will contain new research contributions on different aspects of the study of Zionism and Israel. Students will contribute research that they have previously presented and discussed in the workshops under the supervision of participating academics. The book will be published by the year of this year, and will contain academic articles from a variety of disciplinary approaches, including history, social and political science, anthropology, gender studies and cultural studies. The articles will contain a variety of Palestinian perspectives on Zionism and the colonization of 1948 Palestine, and will also address questions on the effectiveness of the Palestinian national resistance.

The workshop series has clearly had a great effect on the thoughts and ideas of its participants, judging by feedback received. One student, Mai Hammash, commented that “the diverse geographic and academic backgrounds found in the workshop group greatly helped me expand my critical knowledge. I am now better acquainted with the methods and paradigms of Zionist colonization- in ideological terms, as well as in terms of direct violence. It shed light on a lot of ideas and practices for me.

Participant Amir Mershi added that “the workshop brought me together with intellectuals, researchers, and leaders in a single space. It was like being in house of knowledge for me. During the meetings we debated together, exchanged ideas and experiences, and I became acquainted with a range of critical tools and theories that all Palestinians should be acquainted with. This workshop introduces us to ourselves afresh, in order to both preserve and develop our identities as Palestinians working in the academic arena.”

Mada is always striving to further develop its work. Plans for the next series of workshops on Zionism and settler colonialism are already in the pipeline. This series will be entitled “Zionism and the Palestinian national movement: Memoirs of the colonizer and the colonized”. The series will focus on the implications of memoirs published by Zionist and Palestinian intellectual, political and military leaders, taking them as focal points where we can study the nature of the confrontation between colonizer and colonized.

The center will publish more details on the new lecture series in the coming weeks.

Students in Mada’s PhD Program address Zionism and settler-colonialism in first workshop of series

On 24-25 July 2015, Mada al-Carmel — Arab Center for Applied Social Research hosted an academic workshop on Zionism and settler-colonialism at the Grand Park Hotel in Ramallah. This workshop, run by Mada General Director Professor Nadim Rouhana, was the first of six training and research events to be held on Zionism and settler-colonialism for Palestinian graduate students and recent post-doctorates. The workshop took place as part of Mada’s PhD Program, a project launched in January 2015 aiming to help develop the next generation of critical Palestinian scholars by creating a space for Palestinian PhD students and postgraduates to share their ideas, advance their work, and receive feedback from experts in their respective fields.

IMG_1313Professor Nadim Rouhana opened the workshop with a lecture presenting initial questions and observations on Zionism and settler-colonialism. He remarked that the Palestinian national movement viewed the Zionist project as a colonial project on a political and intellectual level from its outset, but at a certain stage, particularly after 1971, the terms of debate gradually shifted from anti-colonial liberation to statehood and sovereignty. The dominant Palestinian leadership, operating in complex circumstances in both the Arab world and internationally, played a role in this shift. However, he added that Palestinians, internationals, and even anti-Zionist Israeli researchers are returning to the framework of settler-colonialism today. Rouhana also offered an explanation of what distinguishes settler-colonialism from colonialism in general. Classical colonialism involves the exercise of economic, political, and military control and improves the geopolitical situation of the colonizer through the subjugation of the colonized, operating remotely through local agents; settler colonialism, on the other hand, aims to create its own political entity and settle the land as its new homeland, maintaining the same standard of living as in the metropole. He noted that while the logic of colonialism depends on subjugation, the logic of settler colonialism depends on the replacement of the indigenous population. Settler-colonialism does not intend to rule the “natives,” but to take their place without recognizing it as the homeland of its indigenous residents. Rouhana then identified various features of settler colonialism, arguing that they are fully consistent with the Zionist project. These features include:

1.       Dispossession of land and space, creation of a new geography and history beginning from the date of the colonizer’s arrival, and receipt of support and legitimacy from the academic sphere.

2.       The elimination of the indigenous population: initially through massacres and later through various other means.

3.       Structural violence – in which violence is not an event, but a continuous process occurring in the political, legal and cultural spheres. However, colonialism does not see itself as violent, but ruthlessly uses violence which is justified as a means of defending its land.

4.       A logic of justification distinct from that of colonialism, which justified its existence by bringing development and urbanization to the colonized. Settler colonialism uses other justifications, such as divine right and arrival into a virgin land.

Rouhana added that each instance of settler-colonialism is accompanied by a permanent state of fear as a result of acts of violence that were committed throughout its history.

Rouhana argued that settler-colonial projects could result in “victory”, through the total or near-total elimination of the indigenous population (as in the cases of Canada and New Zealand), or “defeat”, through either reconciliation (as in the case of South Africa) or expulsion and the return of the settler to his/her country (as in the case of Algeria).

Rouhana then attempted to consider where the Zionist project stands, pointing out three things that distinguish it from other settler-colonial projects:

1.       The Zionist project is ongoing.

2.       The Zionist movement is also a nationalist movement and has succeeded in building a nation.

3.       The Zionist project is grounded in religious justifications that are different from the justifications given for other settler-colonial projects. Religious justifications were not only used during the establishment of the project in its infancy, but remain salient today and are growing in importance.

In the second session, researchers and students discussed Zionism from a settler-colonial perspective. Participants raised a number of questions, including: What is our position as Palestinians in relation to victorious settlement projects? How do we define the Zionist project’s defeat? Would the removal of the state’s colonial nature and its conversion to a state for all its citizens be considered a victory? Participants also discussed the phenomenon of mental or epistemological colonization, debating whether it could be applied to the Palestinian case. Moreover, researchers and students considered the significance of the colonizer’s increasing violence and racism as a manifestation of force or fear, particularly in the Zionist case. They noted the possible role of a joint Palestinian and Mizrahi Jewish movement in resisting the Zionist project. Additional proposals were put forward on the need to consider security and military studies in order to understand the relationship between violence and the colonial project; the production of fear in the colonial project, which is necessary for its survival; and the colonizer’s success in producing forms of Palestinian subjectivity that are not conducive to resisting Zionism.image5

The second lecture was given by Dr. Munir Fakher Eldin, a lecturer at Birzeit University. He reviewed Palestinian historical readings of the Zionist project, considering how the analytical framework of settler-colonialism could be used productively by researchers and historians. During his lecture, he emphasized the importance of reconsidering the study of British colonialism, which established institutions and practices that formed a precursor for Zionism. By examining the case of the Bisan (Beit Shean) valley, however, he argued that the dynamics of the relationship between British colonialism and Zionism are complex, and cannot be reduced to the fact that British colonialism enabled Zionist expropriation through land laws. He ultimately contended that British colonialism should not be reduced solely to an enabler of Zionism. Fakher Eldin added that three explanatory frameworks have been used to consider the history of Palestine—the clash of civilizations (which implies a conflict between Palestinians and Jews); the framework of modern national civil society; and settler-colonialism—arguing that Palestinian academia is in conflict between the first and second paradigms.

The second day began with a lecture by Dr. Abdul Rahim Sheikh of Birzeit University. In this lecture, he presented a critical intervention entitled “Towards a liberal approach in Palestinian cultural studies,” arguing that in the local Palestinian epistemological context, there is no specialized field of “Palestinian cultural studies” situated within the colonial setting, but noting that there have been many attempts to create such a field. Accordingly, his intervention sought to provide a theoretical introduction to the field, its limits and conceptual problems, and the possibilities of using critical contemplation of the experience of the colonized to inaugurate methods that are free from colonial influence, in light of the lapse between the theoretical and the applied as witnessed in Palestine today. The intervention consisted of four segments. In the first segment, Dr. Sheikh presented a series of methodological questions on how cultural studies can serve us in developing better academic approaches to Zionism. In the second segment, he presented a cultural theoretical reading of the emergence of Zionism in a colonial context and the status of the Abrahamic faiths within that context.  In the third segment, he presented a cultural application of the theoretical intervention made in his upcoming book, “The Columbus Syndrome and the Exploration of Palestine: Zionist policies of naming and cultural engineering in Palestinian space,” to be published by the Institute for Palestine Studies at the end of 2015. In the last segment, he presented critical conclusions, a contemplation of the function of criticism, and criticism of criticism itself, noting that criticism can become merely a form of posturing in a post-colonial context.

IMG_1363The second session, entitled “Daily life under settler-colonialism in Palestine,” was opened and moderated by Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, and also involved the participation of doctoral students Rami Salameh and Maysa Eshkirat.

In her remarks, Shalhoub-Kevorkian argued that scholars under colonialism write about their lived experiences rather than theorizing abstractly. She noted that daily Israeli policies of colonialism are structural in nature rather than isolated events, and that these policies are attempts by the settlers to demand for themselves the status of the indigenous. She added that the theorizing of daily practices of intimidation is essential in understanding the Zionist colonial situation. She also spoke about Palestinian practices of maneuvering that challenge the violence of colonialism, such as smuggling the bodies of the dead, using alternative routes to avoid checkpoints and soldiers while going to school and returning home, etc.

Rami Salameh, a doctoral student at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, highlighted colonial policies that limit and restrict Palestinian freedom of movement, force Palestinians to undergo everyday practices of maneuvering in order to pass through checkpoints, and impose different spaces of movement on different groups of Palestinians. He noted that those who have a blue Israeli ID pass through a different checkpoint from those who have West Bank IDs, even in cases where two partners or a father and his children have different IDs. He added that it is difficult to analyze this context based on literature that refers either to hegemony or to resistance, arguing that states of command and control are also productive of subjectivities. This requires a review of space in a colonial context, where the colonial project has succeeded in producing various Palestinian subjectivities, distinguishing between Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israel on the basis of their ability to move from place to place, as restrictions on movement are inscribed onto the Palestinian body. He added that civil society also reproduces these colonial contradictions. In his research, Salameh is rewriting the history of colonial space through people’s stories by conducting an ethnographic study to examine and analyze how the colonized Palestinian maneuvers within this system.3

The second intervention was made by Maysa Eshkirat, a doctoral student at SOAS in London. Eshkirat addressed the body and sexuality in light of daily Israeli policies of colonization. She noted that existing research does not adequately address the violence of the Zionist project – a colonial project aiming to expropriate all of historic Palestine and the Golan Heights. Eshkirat claimed that resistance to colonialism at the level of everyday life is absent from existing academic literature and argued that research should be part of the process of liberation in the Palestinian case. Eshkirat added that through her research, she aims to deconstruct or problematize the relationship between knowledge and colonialism. In the Zionist context, she noted that colonialism itself is imprinted onto the body of the Palestinian women in patriarchal terms. She ended her intervention by stating that what distinguishes Zionist colonialism from other cases of settler colonialism is that it faces strong resistance in spite of the fact that it represents the ultimate culmination of the European colonial mentality, delegitimizing the “other” and using quasi-religious justifications for its actions.

In the last session, each of the participants stated their future expectations from the workshop series, and the areas which they were interested in addressing in subsequent workshops. Participants proposed to consider the issue of indigeneity, the distinct articulations of settler colonialism in the 1967 and 1948 regions, and internal violence within the Palestinian community in the context of colonialism. Some participants also suggested inviting Jewish lecturers who oppose Zionist colonial thought.

At the end of the workshop, the group agreed to write research papers on the various issues that will be addressed in coming workshops

16 PhD-students participated in the second Mada al-Carmel PhD conference, and six grants were allocated to PhD students

Opening-1On April 15th-16th, the conference for Palestinian PhD students was held in Nazareth, which was organized by Mada al-Carmel – the Arab Center for Applied Social Research. This was the second conference that Mada al-Carmel held for PhD-students. Palestinian students studying at local and foreign universities participated in the conference and presented their research. They also listened to discussions from senior scholars – who took turns chairing the sessions – and from the public.

Ms. Einas Odeh-Haj, the Associate Director of Mada al-Carmel, opened the conference by saying that it aims to stimulate academic dialogue and the exchange of expertise, and that it is the continuation of Mada’s overall efforts towards the goal of supporting a new generation of Palestinian researchers. She added that the idea of the conference comes as  “a challenge to the partition policy suffered by Palestinians. It is an attempt to create an intellectual framework which overcomes geographical and political barriers and contributes to developing a research agenda”. Dr. Manar Mahmoud, the coordinator of the conference, addressed its importance and the preparations that preceded it, including the formation of an academic committee that worked on reviewing and evaluating the submitted applications as well as selecting the conference’s participants. Professor Michael Karayanni from the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University, and a member of the conference’s Academic Committee, discussed the importance of standing on an academic stage and speaking in Arabic in a supportive atmosphere, emphasizing the importance of learning from each other and exchanging expertise.


Jalse-1following the opening, the sessions of the conference began, and were divided according to the research topics of the participants. The first session was about gender, led by Dr. Taghreed Yahia-Younes from Tel-Aviv University. Three students participated in this session:

  • Ferial Khalifa – Women’s Islamic Activism: Various issues and theoretical approaches
  • Dina Zbeidy – Love, Age, Magic and Mothers: Marriage issues in the discourse of civil society and refugees in Jordan
  • Lana Sirri – Islamic Feminism: A response to conditional sisterhood

The second session discussed colonial perspectives and was led by Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian from the Hebrew University, who is also the Director of the Gender Studies Program at Mada al-Carmel. The participants of this session included:

  • Wassim Ghantous – Outsourcing Settler-colonialism: Israel’s outsourcing of control to private security companies, individual settlers, and the Palestinian Authority
  • Taher al-Labadi – War by Other Means: A political economy of colonialism in Palestine
  • Muna al-Dajani – Farming as Resistance under Occupation


The third session revolved around social studies and was led by Dr. Sami Mahajneh from the Arab Academic Institute Beit Berl. The participants of this session included:

  • Sinyal Attamneh – Occupational Aspirations among Young Palestinian Females in Israel Living in Poverty: The potential of mothers’ contributions
  • Adeem Massarwa – Serious Physical Violence among Arab-Palestinian Adolescents: Normative beliefs as a mediator, parental communication as a moderator
  • Ahmad Badran – Stratification Consequences of Educational Choices: Elementary school choice by Palestinians in Israel


Jalse-4On the second day, the fourth session of the conference dealt with the topic of planning, led by Professor Yousef Jabareen from Technion. The participants included:

  • Kais Nasser – Planning Challenges among a Conservative Minority Community: The case of the Arab-Palestinian Minority in Israel
  • Ahmad al-Atrash – Spatial Planning Strategies Towards Sustainability in the Geo-Political Context of Present Day Palestine: The case of Bethlehem

Jalse-4The topic of identity formed the core of the fifth session, which was led by Professor Michael Karayanni. Three participants contributed in this session:

  • Firas Khatib – Palestinians in Israel and the Arab Satellite Channels: Identity, continuity and journalism practices
  • Hama Abu Kishk – The Discourse of the Arabic Blogosphere
  • Ramez Eid – Counted Voices: Anthropology and the value of local democracy in the neo-liberal state

The last session revolved around history and was chaired by Dr. Manar Hassan from Ben-Gurion University. It included three talks:

  • Himmat Zu’bi – Control and Surveillance: The elimination of the Arab landscape of Haifa 1948
  • Heba Yazbak – The Re-narration of History; When the Subaltern Speak: The case of internally displaced Palestinians in 1948
  • Ameer Fakhoury – Identity Strategies among Arab Christian Citizens of Israel: Keepers of Arab identity or guardians of Israel’s border?


The conference lasted for two days and along with these sessions it also included workshops with the participating students. The first workshop revolved around the process of writing and completing a PhD dissertation. It was led by Dr. Ayman Agbaria from the University of Haifa and a member of the Academic Committee of the conference. The second workshop addressed challenges that students face after their PhD, including work and publication. It was chaired by Professor Michael Karayanni.

The first day concluded with an awards ceremony for PhD students, where six grants were allocated in the presence of Dr. Ayman Agbaria, who is also a member of the Awards Committee. The students who received grants are:

  • Adeem Massarwa, from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem
  • Firas Khatib, from SOAS in  the University of London
  • Haneen Naamneh, from the University of London
  • Himmat Zu’bi, from Ben-Gurion University
  • Abed Kana’ane from Tel Aviv University
  • Lana Tator, from the University of Warwick in Australia


Mada al-Carmel’s First Conference for Palestinian PhD Students (August 2011)


Nadim Rouhana, Mada al-Carmel; Tufts University, USA

Amal Jamal, Conference Academic Committee; I’lam Center; Tel-Aviv University

Salim Tamari, Birzeit University; Ala Alazzeh, Rice University, USA

Lena Meari, University of California-Davis, USA

Suhad Daher-Nashif, Al-Qassimi College, Baqa al-Gharbia; Oranim College

Raghda Alnabilsy, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Sherene Seikaly, American University, Cairo

Sami Abu Shehadah, Tel-Aviv University

Oroub El-Abed, University of London, UK

Rania Jawad, New York University, USA

Ahmad Amara, New York University, USA

Michael Karayanni, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Samah Alkhatib-Ayoub, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Nimer Sultany, Harvard Law School, USA

Sonia Boulus, Notre Dame University, USA

Sana Sarghali, Lancaster University, UK

Samar Khamis, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland

Bashir Bashir, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute; The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Manar Mahmoud, Tel-Aviv University

Mtanes Shehadeh, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Rula Hardal, Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany

Helen Kasem, University of Westminster, UK

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Conference Academic Committee, Mada al-Carmel; The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research, held its third conference for Palestinian PhD students early July, in which 11 Palestinian PhD students from local and foreign universities discussed their research. The conference was attended by dozens of academics, university students and interested people, amid a notable presence of female doctoral students.

The conference was opened by Mada al-Carmel’s General Director, Professor Nadim Rouhana, who welcomed the guests and the students. “This conference is one of four components of Mada al-Carmel’s project to promote graduate studies and encourage Palestinian doctoral students. Supporting graduate students is one of Mada al-Carmel’s most important goals.”


Dr. Ayman Eghbaria, a member of the conference’s academic committee and a lecturer at Haifa University, welcomed the participants and spoke about the importance of research, writing and research production after the doctoral stage.


Professor Michael Karayani, also a member of the conference’s academic committee, gave an opening lecture on “Religious pluralism as a disguise – religious minorities in Israel.” In which he presented the clear and blatant contradiction between Israel’s claim to be a liberal democracy and the religious pluralism policies it promotes in order to weaken the national identity of the Palestinians in Israel.

Dr. Qusay Haj Yahya chaired the first session of the conference entitled, “Society, Education and Violence.” In this session, Islam Abu Asaad spoke on “Professional Education Communities for Teachers: The State of Arab Education in Israel.” Neveen Ali Saleh spoke on the “Exposure of Palestinians in Israel to Communal Violence and its Implications,” and Yamama Abdelkader spoke on “Identity and Psychological Immunity of Palestinian Youth in Israel.” Speaking via Skype from the Gaza Strip, Majdi Ashour spoke on, “Beyond Flexibility in a Time of Despair: The Changes in Household Spending on Health Care in the Gaza Strip.”


Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian chaired the second session of the conference entitled, “Rights and Gender.” In this session, Maisa Totry Fakhoury spoke on “The Local and Unwritten Laws for the Development of Spatial Structure in the Palestinian Towns in Israel.” Huzan Younis spoke on “Dreams, Capabilities and Reality: Professional Careers of Palestinian Female Academics between Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies.” The session ended with Inshirah Khoury, who spoke on “The Conditions for Development of Equality in the Marital Relationship of Arab-Palestinian Men in Israel.”


Professor Mahmoud Yazbak chaired the last session entitled, “History and Conflict.” In this session, Ibrahim Khatib spoke on the theme of “Perception of the Conflict: Democratic Values and Reconciliation.” Speaking via Skype, the student, Ali Musa from Birzeit University, spoke on “The Jordanian Rule of the West Bank: Political, Economic, and Social Dimensions.” Abed Kanaaneh then spoke on his research on “Hezbollah in Lebanon: as a Project of ‘Counter-Hegemony’” and Haneen Naamneh spoke on “The dialectic of law and history in Jerusalem after the Naksa.”


In his concluding remarks, Dr. Mohanad Mustafa, Director of research programs at Mada and a member of the conference committee, spoke about the objectives of the program and the need to support doctoral students. He said, “The aim of this conference is for Palestinian graduate students to strive to produce Palestinian knowledge that reproduces the Palestinian novelty severed since 1948, and restores respect for the Palestinian cultural field, particularly as the conference brings together young Palestinians studying in universities all over the world. The conference is an exceptional opportunity for students to present knowledge in an aberrant reality of a dispersed population, to produce Palestinian knowledge in an abnormal situation, which is a political and scientific challenge at the same time. The political challenge is to produce a Palestinian scientific and sociological field in a reality of political fragmentation, so that the cultural field of knowledge becomes the basis for the unity of the Palestinian people.”

The conference concluded with the distribution of five grants to five PhD students, during which Mada al-Carmel’s Associate Director, Einas Odeh-Haj, congratulated the attendance and doctoral students who presented their research. She commended the female attendance and the fact that the majority of the doctoral students participating in the conference were women. She then thanked the members of the Grants Committee. Odeh-Haj considered that “The grants are a small contribution from Mada to encourage the doctoral students and contribute to the production of Palestinian knowledge and culture.”

The five students receiving Mada’s grant for this year were:

1. Islam Abu Asaad, Education Department, Ben Gurion University

2. Areen Hawari, Gender Studies Department, Ben Gurion University.

3. Camillia Ibrahim, Gender Studies Department, Bar Ilan University.

4. Niveen Ali Saleh, Department of Social Work, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

5. Wassim Ghantous, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Guttenberg, Sweden.


مؤتمر الدكتوراه مؤتمر الدكتوراه2 مؤتمر الدكتوراه3 مؤتمر الدكتوراه4 مؤتمر الدكتوراه5

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The Second International Conference of Gender Studies Program at Mada al-Carmel – Arab Center for Applied Social Research was held in the old city of Acre, on Thursday 14/7/2016, under the title of: The Illusion of Justice in the Settler Colony: Palestinian woman, law and the state.

The conference sought to address the relationship between the three sides of the triangle: The Palestinian woman, law and the state within the settler colonial context. The conference highlighted the women in this triangle; it examined their status, and the impact of this relationship on women all through a three dimensional focus. First, the gender dimension of the relationship’s nature, women being discriminated against by the governing institution on one hand, the Palestinian internal patriarchal society and the Israeli society on the other hand. Second, the ethnic and racial dimension of the state towards Palestinians in general, and the Palestinian woman in particular. Whereas, the third dimension addresses the colonialism of the occupant’s law and the status of Palestinian women in the border zones. The conference also focused on the law’s role as a central approach in the settler colonial system to steal the Palestinian’s woman right to a decent life.

1Dr. Mtanes Shihadeh, director of research programs at Mada al-Carmel and coordinator of the Israeli studies program opened the conference with welcoming words through which he presented the aim of the conference and its significance, saying: “This conference stems from the conviction that the instruments of the settler colonialism system are numerous and they are all recruited to serve the dominance, banishment and the superiority of the colonizer, including the use of the legal system to impose dominance and control under the slogan of democracy or the majority’s will in the Israeli case. In addition to the constructional colonial system, in the recent years we have witnessed lawmaking of a number of laws that aimed to control, repression and suppression of the Palestinian collective awareness and their political positions. In addition to suppressing individual freedom of people and interfering in their right of choice for their life partners, not to mention other practices of colonialism in the Palestinian territories of 67 and especially in Jerusalem. All of that is done under the slogan of the majority’s resolution and security.


Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, director of gender studies program at Mada al-Carmel, a professor of criminology, started the sessions with a lecture under the title of: “A Feminist Critical Perspective on Palestinian Woman, Law and the Jewish state”, through which she discussed the Zionist settler-colonial project and its impact on the Palestinian woman, saying: “The settler-colonial system, which evolved the moment the state of Israel was born, is in an instant relentless state of emergency which seeks to eliminate Palestinians, the others, the penetrating and the dangerous beings for the sake of the Jewish people’s lives, growth and prosperity. Through the description of the fundamental definition of the Jewish state according to the Zionist ideology represented by the idea of the pure race and establishing a racist citizenship clearly manifested in the law of return of the year 1950, which automatically gives citizenship to any person who can prove to have one Jewish ancestor, whereas in the same time denies the right of return for Palestinians who were born on this land. Through other Israeli laws of citizenship and entrance, we can indicate that Palestinian eviction from the ideological frame of the Jewish state has been activated and that it has been sustained through violence and in some cases in a very slow and light manner, but it’s always a powerful method of eradication. Hence, the inevitable plan of demography lies in the wings of birth. With each Palestinian childbirth, there comes a distinct threat for the Jewish inhabitants. Although the official laws and the ethical codes ban division, and may require neutral medical care supply equally for everybody, the ability of breaking and manipulating laws was achieved, legalized, and overlooked. The illegal becomes flexible and legal, the forbidden becomes official. It’s condemned by many but rarely applied, or investigated into, or made right.


The first session of the conference was under the title of “Women, state racism and the law” headed by advocate Hadeel Badarneh, with the participation of Cheryl I. Harris, professor of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, School of law, University of California-Los Angeles, Suhad Bshara, Advocate, director of land and planning unit, Adalah-The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Sarab Abu Rabia-Queder, Senior lecturer, Ben Gurion University- Al-Naqab.

Cheryl Harris talked about the American experience in state racism and law, saying: “Although slavery isn’t vivid in law issuing, it still has, until this day, its effect on shaping the political life of the black people in America and abroad, and particularly on the relationship between the black and other citizens, in addition to the issue of granting them the American nationality like other citizens of the country”. In her intervention, she focused on the black woman’s relationship with the state on one hand, and her relationship with the male chauvinist society on the other. Suhad Bishara’s intervention was under the title of “Gendered Spaces in the Formation of the Israeli Settler-Colonialis”, where she discussed the eviction of Um al-Hiran village which was not recognized in al-Nakkab and the way the Israeli authority and institutions dealt with women’s role in this case, to convert it into a women’s space. Suhad fcused on the clear language of gender in the case of Um al-Hiran village, which supports the Colonial Zionist Policy. Sarab Abu Rabia Queder had the last intervention during the first session titled “The Policy of De-Classing the working Palestinian women in Al-Naqab”, where she discussed the settler-colonial logic which is represented in the exclusion of indigenous Palestinians in Al-Nakkab in general, and the professional Palestinian women in particular. The logic of colonialism doesn’t only aim for the weak and pour groups, but it also targets the economically strong stratums which challenge the colonial power. In this context, Abu Rabia Queder says: “The Palestinian working women in Al- Naqab are targeted by the settler-colonial policy, because they own the largest cultural capital in their society, on both economic and educational levels”.


6The second session was under the title “Gender, Racism and Violence against Women” chaired by Aamer Ibrahim, Masters student. It contained four interventions by local and foreign lecturers. Denise Da Silva, from Queen Mary, University of London had the first intervention titled “Palestinian Women Confronting Racial Violence”, where she discussed the internal conflicts in the concept of justice, which is supposed to be based on equality. The concept of justice does not take in consideration the political interference of the authority involved in violence and gender violations, and which the approach based on law tries to resolve. The second intervention, by Nisreen Massarwi from Kayan – Feminist Organization, was under the title: “The State, the Palestinian Employer, and the Sexual Harassment in Workplace” through which she raised the subject of the constrains the female society lives in, generally, and all that is related to the active participation in the public area whose rules are very powerfully written by the white institution. This is a sharp and accurate statement involving everything concerning the reality a Palestinian woman in Israel lives in, especially the Palestinian working woman- or a woman looking for a job – in front of her Palestinian employer. The third intervention, conducted by Abeer Baker, dvocate, was titled “The Absence of Legal Protection for Palestinian female Prisoners in Israel” where she discussed the struggle of the Palestinian female prisoners which is not different than the struggle of the Palestinian male prisoners in terms of the forms of humiliation and the various methods of illegal interrogation. Except that being women, they may be subjected to additional types of psychological and physical torture, which mainly aims for their bodies and their sanctity. The fourth intervention, carried out by the PhD student Saeda Mogari-Renawi under the title: Between the narration and the decision – “a Critical Analysis of Rape Crimes against Palestinian women as Presented in Israeli Courts” through which she discussed the centralization of Judicial courts to make radical social changes and not only a system for struggle solving. She focused on legal critical theories which reveal that this space represents and reflects power struggles among several groups in the field, where each has its own values and desires, it is considered to be a tool for pressure in the hands of the ruling group in order to suppress the other groups. That is the reason why for more than three decades the female criticism focuses on the Judicial system, which they consider to be the central tool for supporting the logic of equality between men and women, in addition to improving woman’s social status using legal methods that include stopping violence and different types of torture.


10The third session was headed by Bana Shoughry, advocate, who discussed the topic: “Law, Death, and the Border Zones”, Areen Hawari, PhD student, participated in the session and introduced an intervention under the title of: “Debates on the Personal Status Laws’ Amendment: Discourses and References”. The intervention addressed the initiative for the amendment and legislation of laws that would impact Personal status laws of the Palestinians inside the green line. The Othman doctrine system was the exclusive reference for the family laws until the year of 2001, the same laws used by the British mandate and later on adopted by Israel. In addition to subjecting the paper to discussion about those initiatives which partially resulted into minimizing religious court capacities concerning family laws for Muslims and  Christians and giving more capacity to civil courts.

As for the second intervention, it was under the title of “The State and the Independence of Ecclesiastical Courts: A Colonial Patriarchal Legacy and a Pure Political Decision”, presented by Hala Mousa Dakwar, advocate, who talked about the legal void that resulted from Church independence from the Israeli judicial system, the absence of transparency and foreign judicial monitoring of the verdicts that are made. The third and the last intervention was under the heading of: “Frozen Laws-Frozen Bodies: on the Detained Palestinian Women Corpses” presented by the lecturer Suhad Daher-Nashif, who discussed the detention and freezing of Palestinian women’s corpses in Israeli morgues, which she defined as freezing  Palestinian women’s death in terms of time and space, all through the interaction of three types of legal bases; the international law and the agreements concerning handling corpses in the areas of struggle, the Israeli law and the supreme court’s decision regarding this issue, in addition to the Palestinian law, and social customs.

At the end of the conference, a closing session was held by MK Haneen Zu’bi and Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kivorkian, who talked about the Palestinian women’s journey of struggle against the Israeli authorities on one hand, and the way the Palestinian society treats women on the other hand.