Fashionable and ready to fight
'I always teach my children that Palestine is for us,' says Shireen Qawasmi, a Palestinian mother of three.
Hebron, West Bank
Jerusalem bureau chief
Christa Case Bryant is The Christian Science Monitor's Jerusalem bureau chief, providing coverage on Israel and the Palestinian territories as well as regional issues.
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When I went to visit the Al Quds Open University in Hebron to follow up on rumblings of a third intifada, Shireen Qawasmi immediately stood out for her ensemble: long manicured nails, a faux fur wrap, a rich purple coat over her jeans and black boots, and a big sparkling ring on her index finger.
After the students began voicing their frustrations with Israel and their consensus that armed resistance was the best way to fight back, I asked how many of them would be willing to fight themselves.
Shireen, a divorced mother of three young children, was the first to pipe up. “I will carry arms and be the first one to go and fight,” she said.
Shireen comes from a prominent family in Hebron, where tensions tend to run higher than other West Bank cities. Home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it is sacred to both Muslims and Jews and there are frequent clashes between Palestinians and a small but fervent community of Israeli settlers in the heart of the Palestinian city.
“We are not war lovers, but when you see your children getting killed, and your land confiscated, you are forced to fight,” she explained. “I teach my children always that Palestine is for us.”
You can read more about Shireen and her fellow classmates’ views on the potential for a third Palestinian intifada here.