Gaza: "A Time for Peace, A Time for Women"

ISIS International
A statement from Isis International on the crisis in Gaza.
"Isis International joins our sisters in Palestine and Israel and around the world in demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities and destruction in Gaza, and the reopening of Gaza to facilitate the flow of much needed humanitarian aid.
We extend our solidarity to the innocent civilians, and especially to the women and children, victims of the militarism and fundamentalisms on both sides of the conflict that are causing death, destruction and suffering. We demand that women be integrally involved in building a just and sustainable peace.

Isis International shares and supports the visions of peace and security of both Palestinian and Israeli women. Their voices, visions and aspirations are seldom reflected in the mainstream media. Their stories, struggles, faces and names are hardly known. Yet it is the women who have been speaking of peace between territories for years. It is an ongoing human tragedy that such visions have not been reflected in the formal peace process and agreements.

Today both Palestinian and Israeli women are once more calling for a just and sustainable peace.

The International Women's Commission (IWC) for a Just and Sustainable Palestinian-Israeli Peace has issued a statement (January 2009) demanding "an immediate cessation of the aggression by the Israeli military forces in Gaza, which has already cost hundreds of lives" and calling for the "immediate resumption of peace negotiations based on the Arab Peace Initiative as the only way of bringing an end to the occupation and achieving sustainable peace between Israel and Palestine, and in the region." The IWC, comprising Palestinian, Israeli and international women leaders, was established in 2005 under the auspices of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) as part of efforts to implement UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

The Coalition of Women's Organizations for Peace in Israel issued a statement on 1 January 2009: demanding "an end to the bombing and other tools of death", and calling "for the immediate start of deliberations to talk peace and not make war. The dance of death and destruction must come to an end. We demand that war no longer be an option, nor violence a strategy, nor killing an alternative. The society we want is one in which every individual can lead a life of security - personal, economic, and social."

Isis International implores that women from both sides of the Gaza territories be brought into a peace process. Women from both sides have established peace principles long before men were shaking hands for television cameras. As leaders, mothers, daughters and citizens of their nations they are in the best position to bring about peace, best stated in a 2008 article by Israeli feminist peace activist Gila Svirsky "Our principles went beyond the general assertion of ending hostilities....not just ending the Israeli occupation, but shaping a shared future of cooperation....opposition to militarism that permeates both societies, an equal role for women in negotiations for peace and a society that cares more about education, health, art and the poor than it does about maintaining a deadly arsenal" ("Off Our Backs", June 2008).

And so with the knowledge and confidence that women as peace makers can make a difference in this conflict, Isis International reiterates their visions and echoes their voices in this turbulent time.

8 January 2009

Source: ISIS International