The aim of the study was to examine how gender imagery and gender relations affect and are affected by national projects and processes among Palestinians. The women of Palestine have participated in the struggle against the Israeli occupation on several levels and in different ways. During this struggle, narratives and images involving gender and land have been shaped and reshaped. The study set out to contribute with a deeper understanding of the processes and mechanisms by which the interplay between gender relations and narratives and the national struggle is being evolved and transformed.
One central focus concerns the way Palestinian identity is partly constructed upon the metaphors of ird and ard, which connotes to women and land. Ird is one of the local concepts for family honour, and connotes to women and their conduct, in particular sexual conduct. Sharaf is another local concept of honour referring to independence, hospitality, fearlessness, wisdom and it is accumulative. Ird claims segregation, while sharaf is achieved through interaction. Ard is the local concept for land. Other studies reported that the Palestinian refugees from 1948, said as a proverb "honour before land". They had left their farms, but their womenfolk was intact. PLO reversed the proverb into a new slogan: "land before honour".
My argument is that women serve as a key symbol for both the secular and religious national movement (PLO and HAMAS). Moreover I investigate how these movements provide possible new meanings of honour, in the current situation of resistance against the Israeli occupation. I also focus on how men and women use and produce different discourses when they negotiate their own gender relations and try to find meaning in their everyday life. The analysis is organised around themes depicted in Palestinian political posters. The meaning of these posters are interpreted by rural women and serve as gateways to central identity discourses, such as the women as the land, the women as mother of the nation, the women and the house, the women and the struggle.
The study is based on several field-works conducted between 1988 and 1995 in the West-Bank. The methods applied are ranging from participant observation, narratives and use of posters.