Palestine/Israel: Bat Shalom and the Jerusalem Center for Women - joint declaration

Bat Shalom
Palestinian and Israeli women demand an immediate end to Occupation.
Israel has launched a war against defenseless Palestinian communities. The terrorization of innocent civilians, the unlawful killings and arrests, the siege imposed upon President Arafat, and the destruction of property, infrastructures and institutions, can only lead to further escalation, prolonging the sufferings of both nations and destroying any prospects for peace.
The climate of fear and the obsession with reprisals that grips our two peoples obscure the true cause of this cycle of violence - the continued and unlawful Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people and their land.

It is our role, women on both sides, to speak out loudly against the humanitarian crimes committed in order to permanently subjugate an entire nation.  Right now, in the face of uncontrolled military turmoil, we jointly ask the international community of states to accept its duty and mandate by international humanitarian law to prevent abuses of an occupying power, by officially intervening to protect the Palestinian people.

Beyond the immediate crisis, we know that there is one future for us both. The deliberate harming of innocent civilians, Palestinian or Israeli, must not be condoned.  By working together we improve our chances for a better future. We believe that women can develop an alternative voice promoting effective peace initiatives and sound approaches.  We undertake to work for this goal together.

Women have already begun to give substance to the recognition that a just peace is a peace between equals. When we call for a Palestinian state (on the territories occupied on 4th of June 1967) alongside the state of Israel, we envision true sovereignty for each state, including control over land and natural resources.  We envision a settlement based on international law, which would endorse sharing the whole city of Jerusalem, the dismantling of the settlements, and a just solution to the question of refugees according to relevant UN resolutions.  In continuing our joint work together, we want not only to achieve an end to the occupation; we want to help create the conditions for a life of security and dignity for both peoples.

We call upon all women and men, young and old, to join us in our sincere quest to preserve life, human dignity and freedom in our region.  Dehumanization, hatred, revenge, and oppression contribute nothing to the resolution of a century of conflict.  Mutual recognition and respect of each other's individual and collective rights will pave the way for peace making.

April 2002

The Jerusalem Center for Women and Bat Shalom

Bat Shalom is a feminist peace organization working toward a just peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.  Bat Shalom, together with The Jerusalem Center for Women, a Palestinian women's peace organization, comprise The Jerusalem Link.