Stop Barbaric Violence and Start Listening to Women

On 4 October, Israeli and Palestinian women gathered in Jerusalem to demand an end to the cycle of bloodshed and to demonstrate support for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The demonstration was organised for the second year in a row by Women Wage Peace, the largest grassroots peace movement in Israel, and Women of the Sun, the Palestinian women’s peace movement.

The work, mission, and collaboration of these two organizations illustrate that women can, want, and need to be involved in all stages of conflict prevention, resolution, and in peacebuilding processes to achieve sustainable and long-lasting peace. Time is of essence to start a process to resolve this decades-old conflict that has to be set up and led by at least 50 percent of women diplomats and women from women’s NGOs in accordance with UNSCR 1325 and the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

Today, the story of women in Israel and Palestine is not that of peace building, empowerment, respect and dignity, but that of suffering and death. The Peace activists Vivian Silver, member of Women Wage Peace, has been brutally murdered. After 5 weeks, her mutilated body has been identified. Ditza Heyman, the mother of movement member and Neta Heiman, are currently missing and probably held hostage in Gaza. Rape and sexualised violence is again being used by the terrorist organisation Hamas as a weapon of war, which under UNSCR 1820 is a war crime. As in most armed conflicts, women are now paying a disproportionately high and unlawful price. With bombings of Gaza and the increasing number of civilian casualties, the conflict threatens to spill over the whole Middle East region.

As the largest umbrella organisation in Europe representing over 2000 women’s organisations, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) stands against any attempt to solve this conflict by means of terror and war, as they are the ultimate expression of patriarchy. We stand strongly with our sisters in Israel and Palestine in asking for an immediate stop to war and violence.

EWL strongly condemns all acts of war, terror and violence against women and civilians and calls for an immediate ceasefire, release of all hostages and for peace negotiations. We reaffirm our commitment to peace and ask for an immediate truce.

Lasting, sustainable peace, and the decision about what happens next cannot be made without including and listening to those affected the most. In these very difficult times, we offer unconditional support to the civilians, especially all women and girls affected by this conflict. We express our deepest condolences to all who suffered losses of their loved ones and stay ready to support women’s organisations on the field with tools, knowledge, and resources.

The EWL also calls on the international community, in particular the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, the Security Council and Secretary General António Guterres, to fully reinstate the UN Charter and implement UN Resolution 1325 (2000) and its whole agenda on Women, Peace and Security.

Therefore, we call all state parties to hold inclusive peace negotiations with 50 percent women, peace activists and civil society stakeholders at the peace negotiation table. The peace talks must be resourced to be effective and on the highest quality level. Experts as peace mediators and other needed must be involved. Alongside a long term financed and professional facilitated reconciliation, process shall be established based on recommendations and needs of the civil society at minimum 50 percent consisting of women.

The European Women’s Lobby is the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in Europe. Founded in 1990, the EWL works to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men and represents more than 2000 organisations across Europe.

Latest video

EWL event "Progress towards a Europe free from all forms of male violence" to mark the 10th aniversary of the Istanbul Convention, 12 May 2021.

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