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Marriage under occupation: Israel’s spousal visa restrictions in the West Bank

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In the West Bank, hundreds of non-Palestinian women who are married to Palestinian men have recently been issued shortened visas with tightened restrictions. This means they are often prevented from working, their mobilities are severely reduced and they are placed in extremely precarious bureaucratic and procedural positions. The research in this article draws from fieldwork interviews with women affected by such restrictions to show how politically induced precarities produce gendered effects towards specific ends of the occupation of Palestine. We thus frame a discussion of the women’s experiences of visa regulations through precarity before giving an account of the profound effects on women’s roles in family and political life. We then broaden the focus to consider Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the demographic implications of the gendered effects of visa precarity. In doing so we make the argument that Israel’s spousal visa regulations contribute to the (re)production of uneven gender relations and the demographic objective of emptying out the West Bank.
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Keywords: Palestine; demography; gender; marriage; precarity; visa administration

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for International Development, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom; 2: Space and Political Agency Research Group (SPARG), Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland

Publication date: February 1, 2019

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