1st Edition

Peace Building Through Women’s Health Psychoanalytic, Sociopsychological, and Community Perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Edited By Norbert Goldfield Copyright 2021
    266 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    266 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is an examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through psychoanalytic, sociopsychological, and nationalistic lenses, highlighting the successes and the hurdles faced by one organization, Healing Across the Divides (HATD), in its mission to measurably improve health in marginalized populations of both Israelis and Palestinians.

    Peace Building through Women’s Health begins with a summary of the "peace building through health" field and a psychoanalytic, sociopsychological examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After a series of informative case studies, the book concludes with an analysis of how this organization has evolved its "peace building through health" approach over the fifteen years since its founding. Working with community groups, HATD has measurably improved the lives of more than 200,000 marginalized Israelis and Palestinians. In the process, it also improves the effectiveness of the community group grantees, by offering experienced management consulting and by requiring rigorous ongoing self-assessment on the part of the groups. IHATD hopes that, in the long term, some of the community leaders it supports will be tomorrow’s political leaders. As these leaders strengthen their own capabilities, they will be able to increasingly contribute to securing peace in one of the longest running conflicts in the world today.

    Peace Building through Women’s Health will be invaluable to public and mental health professionals interested in international health, peace and conflict studies, and conflict resolution.

      Preface, acknowledgments, and organization of this book  PART I - Introduction and overview of the first fifteen years of Healing Across the Divides  1. Peace Building Through Health – A Review with Specific Attention to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict  2. Psychic Trauma and Competing Nationalisms in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict   PART II - Case studies  3. Ahli Balatah Al-Balad Club: Impacting Diabetes Control with a Focus on Chronic Disease Self-Management  4. Al-Maqdese : Drug Abuse Prevention Among Palestinian Youth in East Jerusalem  5. ASSAF/Israel AIDS Task Force: Promoting Equal Rights for HIV-positive Refugee Asylum Seekers in Israel  6. Beterem: Grandmothers for Social Change in an Arab Town in Northern Israel  7. Family Defense Society – Decreasing Obesity and Early Detection of Domestic Violence in Refugee Camps and Metropolitan Nablus, Occupied Palestinian Territory  8. Hadassah Optimal: Exercise and Nutrition in the Immediate Postpartum Period in Israel – a successful intervention accompanied by government adoption  9. Kayan: Sustainable New Leadership and Health Improvement for Palestinian Women in Northern Israel  10. Ma’An – Impacting Domestic Violence Against Bedouin Women in Southern Israel  11. One in Nine: Community Based Breast Cancer Initiatives  12. Palestinian Working Women’s Society for Development – Building Resilience in the Hebron Hills in Occupied Palestinian Territory  13. White Hill Farm: Desert Farming, Improving Nutrition and Communication between Israeli Jews and Bedouin in Southern Israel  14. Strengthening Women Leaders since Healing Across the Divides was Founded in 2004  PART III - Is peace building through health possible in a setting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Past, presemt, future  15. Can Health Professionals Effectively Engage in "healing across the divides" in a Setting of Ongoing Conflict?  16. The Impact of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on Palestinian Health Care Professionals Working in Occupied Palestinian Territory  17. Looking Forward: Peace Building through Health Options for Healing Across the Divides  Appendix: List of organisations that Healing Across the Divides has worked with and a brief decription of their intervention  Contributing authors  Index


      Norbert Goldfield is founder and executive director of the American not-for-profit Healing Across the Divides. He is a practicing physician, editor of the Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, and has authored more than 50 articles and books. He believes that health professionals can and do play an important role in society beyond direct care.

      "Peace Building through Health (PtH), heard over a Skype call with the author, sounded like Peace Building through Hell. I did not attempt to question this, because what I heard applies to our reality under Israeli military occupation. After reading this amazing chronicle of an American organization trying to mitigate a hyper-sensitive political web for the sake of the health of both Palestinians and Israelis, I am confident that we all can be part of the solution if we so desire. One sentence in the book stood out, 'PtH is a political process.' HATD working at the community level is a clear confirmation of their politics of empowerment. This book goes behind the headlines and gives a hands-on taste of what so many must grapple with daily." - Sam Bahour, Palestinian-American businessman, writer, activist, Al-Bireh/Ramallah, Palestine

      "As a health professional living and working in Israel all my adult life, I’ve been engaged in peace through health. Through the remarkable accomplishments of Healing Across the Divides, this book by Dr Goldfield highlights what are the possible roles of health professionals in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I highly recommend this book to all health professionals interested in this field and to all interested in knowing what is achievable in this challenging conflict." - Professor Raphael Walden, President, Physicians for Human Rights–Israel; professor of medicine at Tel Aviv University

      "Healing Across the Divides, a U.S. nonprofit, provides small grants and  back-up to small Palestinian and Jewish groups that face common health needs that lack government support. These low-overhead largely community groups run a variety of programs, e.g., diabetes, nutrition and obesity, that help tens of thousands, and create uncommon rapport and collaboration. As Israel and Palestine wrestle endlessly, and sometimes violently, over how to make peace, their leaders should start thinking more about the potential of synergy between their two peoples in many areas, as an asset for moving from confrontation to peace making. This book provides both general readers and specialists alike with successful approaches that can be replicated in both this tragic conflict and beyond." - Ambassador (ret.) Philip Wilcox, Former U.S. Consul General, Jerusalem; Former President, Foundation for Middle East Peace, Washington DC

      "Reading Norbert Goldfield’s Peace Building through Women's Health was a surprisingly emotional experience for me. Initially I was filled with admiration for this group. For fifteen years they have held on to their belief that health work could contribute to peace. HATD has helped with diabetes, HIV, addictions, mental health, childhood accidents, and an astonishing array of health issues. They have used methods I admire – strengthening civil society organisations close to the communities involved, insisting on measuring the impact of their work. Their service to basic needs for health care in marginalized communities represents ‘what is decent in an indecent world’.

      Then I was flooded by sadness – the political vice tightening on the Palestinians is so appalling, the Israeli military prevents the most tentative of meetings across the divide. Humanitarianism is surely an inadequate stop-gap when the real need, political change, diminishes in probability. Norberet Goldfield himself acknowledges that ‘resolution of the conflict…may not occur in my lifetime’.

      Yet, HATD looks this full in the face and keeps on. I learned from and will hold on to their triple vision. In the short term, they know they are making a difference to hundreds of thousands of lives, contributing to healthier and stronger communities. In the medium term, they are strengthening leadership in civil society – a most valuable asset. In the long term, HATD hopes that these leaders, learning from the values and vision of the organization, will contribute to building peace. I salute them with all my heart!" - Joanna Santa Barbara, coeditor of Peace through Health: How Health Professionals Can Work for a Less Violent World, and has written extensively on peace through health. She is actively committed to the climate change movement and lives in New Zealand