Written by a humanitarian aid worker moving back and forth between the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem over a two-year period (May 2009–June 2011), the observations in these “fieldnotes” highlight the two areas as opposite sides of the same coin. Israel “withdrew” from Gaza and annexed East Jerusalem, but both are subject to the same degree of domination and control: by overt violence in Gaza, mainly by regulation in East Jerusalem.
This article examines the social role and broader cultural meanings of gold jewelry used in Muslim weddings in the West Bank---"marriage jewelry" that by right belongs exclusively to the woman and whose socio-symbolic value extends far beyond its market value. Through interviews with muftis, gold dealers, and especially Palestinian women, the article explores the unwritten "rules" governing marriage jewelry's exchange, and how these rules are affected in a context of occupation and economic hardship. In particular, the author discusses the relatively new phenomenon of imitation (or "virtual") gold jewelry for public display in wedding rites, exploring the new rules growing up around it and speculating on its long-term impact on entrenched traditions.
This personal account describes aspects of closure, siege, and daily life witnessed in the Gaza Strip from May to July 2009, with emphasis on the impact of the blockade in the wake of Operation Cast Lead. As an international worker made to grapple with increasingly complicated Israeli bureaucracy, but ““allowed”” access into Gaza for purposes of humanitarian aid, the author describes her impressions of the current Gazan situation as an instance of isolation whose plight is increasingly hidden from the gaze of the outside world.