Let’s Pay Attention Once Again to the Role of Women and UN Resolution 1325

CALME Luminary Marcia Freedman, President of Brit Tzedek V’Shalom, wrote recently of a revived effort driven by Israeli and Palestinian women to bring about peace in their homelands.

She wrote the following recently:

Brit Tzedek v’Shalom since its founding has consistently given recognition to the leading role that the Israeli and Palestinian women’s peace movements have played in advancing the cause of a non-violent and just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The establishment a year ago of The International Women’s Commission for a Just and Sustainable Israeli-Palestinian Peace (IWC) composed of of 20 Palestinian, 20 Israeli and 20 internationally prominent women, is a new and important development in this trajectory.

The IWC is a result of sustained cooperation and dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian feminists beginning in 1989 with the pathbreaking international women’s peace conference in Brussels, Belgium, “Give Peace a Chance: Women Speak Out.” This conference led to the creation of a coordinating network of Israeli and Palestinian women that organized the “Second International Israeli-Palestinian Peace Conference” in 1992.  Following that meeting, the Jerusalem Link was founded, serving as an umbrella structure for two new organizations, the West Jerusalem-based Bat Shalom, and the East Jerusalem-based Jerusalem Center for Women. While each primarily serves their respective community, they share common principles and jointly sponsor activities.

In October 2000 the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which includes a provision that “calls on all actors involved, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements, to adopt a gender perspective, including … measures that support local women’s peace initiatives…and that involve women in all of the implementation mechanisms of the peace agreements.” The Palestinian women secured a presidential decree in support of Resolution 1325 while the Israeli women got an amendment passed to the 1956 Equal Representation of Women law that mandates the inclusion of women in teams appointed for peace negotiations and setting domestic, foreign or security policy.

As we all hope, there is a new window of opportunity for diplomacy following recent developments in the region. Will women be at the table? We have never been closer to making that happen.

Through the years since the First Intifada, Israeli and Palestinian women’ s voice have always been out front in advancing the discourse about the conflict first by normalizing the use of the term “occupation” (Women in Black, 1988); then by normalizing the concept of  a two-state solution (The Jerusalem Link, 1993), introducing the idea of “Sharing Jerusalem” (The Jerusalem Link, 1996), and most recently grappling seriously with the issue of the Palestinian right of return.  The principles agreed to by the Israeli and Palestinian women’s delegations that founded The Jerusalem Link in 1993 subsequently became the basis not only for the Oslo negotiation and the Geneva Accord, but also for the founding principles of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom.

Now, the IWC is calling for a strong international role in restarting negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We agree. It is for this reason that Brit Tzedek was founded to pressure our government to exercise leadership in resolving this crisis that is so ripe for resolution, yet for decades eludes resolution.

I believe that if UN Resolution 1325 and the Palestinian Authority and Israeli agreements to implement the full inclusion of women in any future peace negations were fully enforced, said negotiations would end very much more positively than any in the past have ended.

Explore posts in the same categories: CALME Luminaries, Israel, Palestinians

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