KarlIn conjunction with the anniversary of the Nakba, Mada al-Carmel – Arab Center for Applied Social Research organized a seminar to discuss the book, Palestine: a Personal History, with two panelists and the book’s author, Karl Sabbagh, on Tuesday, 21 April 2015.

The seminar was opened and moderated by Dr. Johnny Mansour, who  began by stating that Sabbagh’s book combines macro- and micro-history in its exploration of the history of Palestine as well as the personal history of the writer and his family.
Mr. Atallah Mansour, a retired journalist and another panel speaker, noted in his review that Sabbagh’s family had been influential throughout Palestinian history, due to its many of its members taking-up positions of importance. Including, for example, a member of the Sabbagh family who lived in Safad and had served as advisor to the French Consul in Palestine.

Mr. Mansour also commended the writer’s candidness to remain critical throughout the book of himself, and even of the members of his family.


The seminar concluded  with a statement from the book’s author, writer and journalist, Karl Sabbagh, who began by noting that his book was initially meant to target British and American audiences, who normally depend on the Western and/or Zionist writings for their information on the history of Palestine.

CoverThe book is a depiction of Palestinian history up until the year 1948. The author chose this period to explain to readers the foundations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is typically thought to center on the 1967 occupation.

In his book, Sabbagh reviews some topics that have been altered by the Western and Zionist narratives, such as the demographics of the region before the Nakba, and the reasons for the stationing of Arab armies in Palestine immediately before the Nakba. Sabbagh stated the Western narrative suggests that Palestine was an empty land, void of a native population, whereas every Palestinian knows this to be false. He also discussed how the Western narrative derived this idea from a novel by Mark Twain. When Twain visited Palestine, he described Marj Ibn-Amer as an area empty of people, yet both Western and Zionist histories refrain from quoting Twain’s  description of the Galilee and its vibrant villages.

Sabbagh continued this topic by discussing the Jewish demographic in Palestine before the Nakba and their demands, emphasizing that the small population of Jews had unfeasibly large demands for the land’s resources. As for the  Arabic armies, Sabbagh says that the main reason they were stationed in Palestine was for the protection of the partition borders, and to prevent Jewish forces from overstepping their boundaries. Their presence was not, as the Zionist narrative claims, to attack and “cast the Jews into the sea.”

Sabbagh began to intertwine his own personal story into the historical novel after by chance he heard the story of one of his ancestors, Ibrahim Al-Sabbagh, who was an accompanying doctor to Daher Al-Omar. This news encouraged him to research his family history and combine it with the history of Palestine because, as Sabbagh says, every Palestinian has a story and a legacy that permeates and supports the history of Palestine.




On 6/5/2015, the Israel Studies Program at Mada al-Carmel issued two research papers: “Electoral Patterns in Israel and Transformations in Opinions of Israeli Society: The 2013 General Election as a Model,” by Mtanes Shehadeh, and “The Effect of Religious and Haredim Parties on the Israeli Political Scene,” by Inas Khateeb. These papers were prepared as part of the fifth issue of the Mada Files publication, entitled “Transformations in the Israeli Political Scene.”

Articles from the Mada Files publication are available in Arabic on the Mada al-Carmel website. To view the articles, click on the links below:

“Electoral Patterns in Israel and Transformations in Opinions of Israeli Society: The 2013 General Election as a Model” by Mtanes Shehadeh (Arabic)

“The Effect of Religious and Haredim Parties on the Israeli Political Scene” by Inas Khateeb (Arabic)

On March 12th, Mada al-Carmel held an event in honor of the release of a special edition of the journal Biography entitled “Life in Occupied Palestine.” Guest co-editors of the issue, Dr. Cynthia G. Franklin and Dr. Morgan Cooper, spoke on their motivation for engaging such a project and the process of identifying topics and authors, and contributors Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian and Mr. Raja Shehadeh spoke on their contributions and other works relating to the work of Biography. Dr. Franklin is a professor at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, she spoke about the importance of personal experience in overcoming the obstacles of addressing the Palestinian situation in academia, as the process of fact-checking is often used to erase or monitor information. She points to the indisputable nature of personal experiences as being a powerful method of resistance against claims of bias, as memories of personal experiences cannot be erased. She also spoke on the common occurrence in which academic anti-Zionist critique is interpreted as anti-Semitic sentiment, and evidence is discarded under these perceived “biases.”

Mr. Raja Shehadeh is a Palestinian lawyer for human rights and author. In speaking about his article in the special edition “Towards a New Language of Liberation: An Interview,” he commented on how language used to describe Palestinians has changed so much throughout history; first they were called “citizens of Mandate Palestine,” then “infiltrators,” “meddlers,” and “terrorists.” He recalled how “infiltrators”– those who had returned to their lands after being driven out in 1948, could only be spoke about in whispers by their neighbors. He also addressed the unwillingness of younger generations to learn from previous ones, as events unfolded in 1948, then 1967, then during the Oslo Accords. “How impossible it has been for people to learn from one another,” he said.


(L to R) Morgan Cooper, Cynthia G. Franklin, Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Raja Shehadeh

Dr. Morgan Cooper provided information to the background and the process behind the special issue. She first pointed to the geographic divisions between Palestinians and how this is reinforced by the language used to describe them: Palestinians in the West Bank, Palestinians in Gaza, Palestinian in ’48. She therefore pointed to the conscious choice she and Dr. Franklin made to use the term “Palestinians in Occupied Palestine,” and to accept authors and pieces about life in all three areas. Their second principle articulated a desire to draw attention to the everyday struggle under occupation; Dr. Cooper gave the example of the complications of simply purchasing a car and registering it, something she experienced during her life in West Bank,  Their third guiding principle in the special edition was attempting to capture the progression and connection between the historical colonial project to the methods of colonial oppression today.

Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian stated her motivations for contributing to the special edition. Much of her work addresses the topics raised in conversation, such as the experiences of “infiltrators,” whom she calls “returnees” in light of their criminalization by the state. She spoke of an incident which occurred to her and the co-author of the piece for this issue, Sarah Ihmoud. While returning from a conference in Amman, Jordan, Ms. Ihmoud was stopped at the border and denied entry.  The stressful experiences of both women waiting to re-enter the land (Shalhoub-Kevorkian is from Haifa and Sarah Ihmoud from Turmus Ayya, near Ramallah) inspired them to write “Exiled at Home: Writing Return and the Palestinian Home.” Their article addresses the phenomena of a home space being an exile, of the inability to escape the colonial settler project even at home.

The entire special edition of Biography is available on Project Muse here at no cost.

The Gender Studies Program (GSP) at Mada al-Carmel is pleased to announce the publication of a new position paper in continuation of its Women’s Access to Justice project. This most recent paper, “Going to the Ecclesiastical Courts for Protection and Access to Justice: An Indigenous Feminist Reading” is the third in a series of six proposed papers for this project. Co-written by Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian and Sana Khsheiboun, the paper uses observational studies as well as previously existing literature to analyze the experiences of Christian Palestinian women seeking justice in cases of personal status (divorce, alimony, custody, etc) from ecclesiastical courts in Israel. This paper provides a brief history of personal status jurisdiction under Israeli rule, and subsequently posits new analysis based on evidence gathered through observation, as well as through interviews with both women seeking justice in the courts and the court judges, on their respective perceptions and experiences within the ecclesiastical courts.

The Women’s Access to Justice project is managed by a group of researchers with varying specialties, allowing for a multidisciplinary analysis of the position of Palestinian women in the Israeli legal system. Areas of focus range from Palestinian women’s knowledge and understanding of their rights and the legal system, their relationship with the police, institutional prejudices against them, the influence of social control devices, and other judicial institutional issues. This research project aspires to expose paths of justice experienced by Palestinian women through the official Israeli judicial system, as well as through other formal courts and informal social systems. All position papers within this project can be found on Mada’s website in Arabic and in English.

Third Paper – Going to the Ecclesiastical Courts for Protection and Access to Justice: An Indigenous Feminist Reading

Previous Papers

Mada al-Carmel – The Arab Center for Applied Social Research welcomes applications for a research workshop for Palestinian Ph.D. candidates. This workshop aims to develop critical dimensions in candidates’ dissertation writing in a safe and supportive environment. It also aims to impart skills and tools helpful for sound research, as well as provide practice in presenting research in Arabic. It will nurture questions and  aspirations towards deeper, more authentic, critical, and probing inquiries. Finally, it will work towards building communities of scholarship among Palestinian academics at various institutions.

The workshop will hold ten monthly meetings at Mada’s office in Haifa on Fridays from 9 am to 12 am starting on March 20th, 2015.  Applicants must be enrolled in a Ph.D. program in one of the following areas: social sciences, education, humanities (literature, history, philosophy etc.), or law. In exceptional cases, the workshop can admit 2-3 Masters’ students completing the writing of their Masters’ theses.  Applicants must submit the following materials by February 22 (applications submitted after this date or incomplete applications cannot be considered):

1.     Statement of purpose explaining research interest and expectations for joining workshop (not exceeding 500 words).

2.     Research abstract (not exceeding 200 words)

3.     C. V.

4.     Two letters of recommendation, preferably one of which will be from the thesis advisor.

All materials and any questions should be sent to Dr. Manar Mahmoud at manar@mada-research.org

Upon review of submitted materials, selected applicants will be invited for an interview at Mada al-Carmel.

Workshop Director: Dr. Khaled Furani, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Tel-Aviv University.

Workshop Coordinator: Dr. Manar Mahmoud, PhD in Political Science from Tel Aviv University 

photo-3In light of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, al-Qasemi Academy and the Gender Studies Program (GSP) at Mada al-Carmel—Arab Center for Applied Social Research hosted a one-day research seminar entitled “Violence against Women: Between the Family and State Institutions.” Dr. Daher-Nashif, a lecturer at al-Qasemi Academy and coordinator of the GSP, oversaw the seminar, which took place at 2:30 pm at al-Qasemi, on Saturday, November 29th.

Mr. Fadi Qad‘an, director of al-Qasemi’s public relations department, opened the seminar by noting the importance of the day and presenting statistics indicating the  extent of violence against women. He pointed out that out of the one million individuals in the state of Israel whose lives have been impacted by general violence, there are 72 cases of domestic violence presented to authorities daily. The seminar then welcomed Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, director of the GSP. Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian emphasized the importance of the specific context of Palestinian women in Israel, who are affected by violence amid the structural oppression and asymmetries of power. She cautioned against succumbing to the tendency to separate the political atmosphere from the social and personal spheres.

photo-5Following the opening remarks, Mrs. Saeda Mogary-Renawi, a researcher at the  “Women Access to Justice” Project  at Mada al-Carmel, feminist, social activist, and doctoral student at the Hebrew University, shared the results of a research project entitled “The Israeli Judicial System’s Engagement with Cases of Violence against Women.” Mrs. Mogary-Renawi focused on the experiences of women who sought assistance from the police, only to find themselves facing an arduous journey through prejudiced bureaucracy, marginalization, and cultural insensitivity. Mrs. Mogary-Renawi noted the number of Palestinian women who are subjected to domestic violence is rising, stating that one out of three Palestinian women living in Israel has been the victim of physical or psychological abuse.

The second presentation was given by Dr. Afnan Masarweh, a researcher and lecturer at al-Qasemi Academy, whose article “Conceptualizing Violence against Children by Abused Women ” was based on field research documenting the experiences of women caught in a two-fold cycle of violence. These women were simultaneously victims of violence at the hands of their husbands or their families, while they themselves perpetrated violence photo-4towards their children. Dr. Masarweh pointed to the fact that the women internalize the psychological and physical violence done against them, and in turn, this affects the way they treat their children. These women had a tendency to express a strong desire to stop the beating their children, and to replace physical discipline with dialogue as an educational tool. Dr. Masarweh noted that this expression is an indication of the women’s desire to rid themselves of violence, thus stopping the cycle of violence.

The two presentations were followed by questions and comments from the audience. The ensuing discussion raised a number of key points, among them was the need for further research that addresses the issues of the psychological violence that women face, understanding the role of the state and its institutions in the promotion of violence within the Palestinian community in general, as well as the violence against women in particular, and the role of women in contributing to patriarchal structures within society.



Mada’s Gender Studies Program director Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian authored an article entitled Palestinian Feminist Critique and the Physics of Power: Feminists Between Thought and Practice. The article was published in feminists@law Journal in 2014.


“Grounded in my own position as a Palestinian feminist born and raised in Haifa, this paper delves into the nature of feminism for Palestinian women in the Jewish settler colonial state by asking three main questions: How does the complex socio-political reality of settler colonialism reflect itself in the lives and status of Palestinian women living in Israel? What kind of critical feminist theorizing is needed from Palestinian feminists in Israel? How can we analyze and confront the racism of the historical silence of the majority of Israeli feminists towards the historical injustice and current violence faced by Palestinian feminists?  The paper underlines the importance of widening the critical feminist lens to account for the physics of power and calls for (a) the deconstruction of feminisms that have refused to regard the Nakba as a focal analytical and actual source of feminist theorization and (b) defiance in the face of global, regional, and local amnesia towards the Palestinian right to life in the face of Israel’s necropolitical regime of control.”

To view the article, click here.

The Gender Studies Program (GSP) at Mada al-Carmel is pleased to announce the publication of two position papers in light of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which takes place annually on November 25th. The first position paper, written by Suhad Daher-Nashef and Samah Salaymeh Igbariya, documents and discusses the impact of femicide on remaining female family members. The second position paper is written by Nadera Shalhoub Kevorkian and Saeda Mokary-Renawy. They address the interactions of Palestinian women with the Israeli police system, from the beginning to the end of the legal process.

These papers are part of a comprehensive research project which addresses Palestinian women’s access to justice in Israel. The project is managed by a group of researchers with varying specialties, allowing for a multidisciplinary analysis of the position of Palestinian women in the Israeli legal system. Areas of focus range from Palestinian women’s knowledge and understanding of their rights and the legal system, their relationship with the police, institutional prejudices against them, the influence of social control devices, and other judicial institutional issues. This research project aspires to expose paths of justice experienced by Palestinian women through the official Israeli judicial system, as well as through other informal social systems. This project will produce six research papers, all of which will be published on our website.

First Paper – The Living Death of the Bereaved: The Experiences of Women Survivors

Second Paper – Palestinian Women’s Interactions with the Israeli Police Force: Access to Justice for Palestinian Women in Israel

Mada al-Carmel is pleased to share with you three recent academic papers that are authored by Mada researchers.

Dr. Nadim Rouhana, Director of Mada al-Carmel, and Areej Sabbagh-Khoury, Ph.d Candidate and Political Participation Program Coordinator at Mada al-Carmel, co-authored a paper entitled “Settler-Colonial Citizenship: Conceptualizing the Relationship between Israel and its Palestinian Citizens,” published in the journal Settler Colonial Studies, 2014. This paper seeks to re-examine the relationship between Israel and its Palestinian citizens, and offers an alternative reading, that while acknowledging the procedural connection of citizenship, introduces the settler-colonial structure as a central analytical framework for understanding the origins of this complex relationship and its evolution.

Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kervokian, Director of Mada’s Gender Studies Program, has recently had two articles published. The first, “Funding Pain: Bedouin Women and Political Economy in the Naqab/Negev,” was written in collaboration with Antonina Griecci Woodsum, Himmat Zu’bi, and Rachel Busbridge. Published in the journal Feminist Economics, 2014, this article explores the experiences of Bedouin women living in the Naqab/Negev, particularly in unrecognized villages. The article fills a crucial void in existing literature, which often overlooks colonized women’s criticisms of the political economic apparatus.

Dr. Shalhoub-Kervokian’s second paper “Palestinian Children as Tools for ‘Legalized’ State Violence” was published in Borderlands, 2014. This paper addresses the treatment of Palestinian children under the settler-colonial legal context of Israel through the analysis of three main occurrences: the practice of child arrest, the use of children as human shields, and the attacks on Palestinian children’s homes.

Enclosed are the aforementioned articles. We appreciate your continued interest in work produced by Mada al-Carmel researchers.

In October 2014, Mada hosted a study day for Palestinian female doctorate candidates. The event was introduced by Dr. Suhad Daher-Nashif and Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, who highlighted the potential of Palestinian women’s scholastic achievement to subvert narratives of victimhood promoted in Israeli settler-colonial discourses.

The workshop’s first session focused on national political issues and was chaired by Ms. Maysan Hamdan. This session featured papers on constitution writing and reconciliation-based policymaking in conflict communities, youth work institutions in the occupied Palestinian territories, the trans-generational inheritance of the collective memory of the Nakba, and theatrical representations of Palestinian lived experiences.

The second session focused on social issues of import to the Palestinian community and was moderated by Ms. Manal Shalabi. This session included presentations on women’s study organizations, Arab mothers raising children with mental disabilities, femicide and its impact on the culture of the household, and assistance centers for Palestinian survivors of sexual violence in Israel.