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Women Wage Peace update for English speakers

mid-summer 2018

In this issue: The Women's Knesset  WWP’s response to the nation-state law WWP at the Gaza border  our Mothers' Tent moves on  delegation to Northern Ireland • more international connections  profiles of two women waging peace  DONATE

The Women's Knesset

In Israel, Order 8 [tzav shmoneh] is jargon for an emergency call-up of reservists, signaling deepening trouble for the country and anxiety for families of those called to serve. During WWP’s 28th weekly trip to the Knesset, we called for a tzav shmoneh l’shalom – an emergency call-up for peace.

This plea is backed by our actions, including our integrating grassroots participation into interactions with elected officials at the highest levels of decision-making. During each and every week of the Parliament’s legislative season, rotating delegations of WWP members from various parts of the country travelled together to Jerusalem, often in busses partially subsidized by the movement. These trips included attendance at the Knesset’s weekly plenum as well as meetings with individual Members of Knesset, all the while sharing our message that direct negotiation – with full representation of women from diverse communities in all aspects of peace-making – is the country’s best security strategy. We have also begun the process of promoting a bill requiring the Knesset and Security Cabinet, on an ongoing basis, to examine political alternatives for resolving conflicts and are launching  extensive media and field campaigns to support this proposal.

On our 28th visit this year to Israel’s parliament, the WWP delegation joins together in the gallery above the plenum hall.

WWP also speaks weekly...

…in Knesset committee meetings, where the bulk of legislative work takes place. WWP’s Knesset Committees team numbers over thirty women mostly from the Jerusalem area who can show up quickly for sessions called by any one of approximately 24 committees. including so far the Foreign Affairs and Defense, Status of Women, Education, Constitution, House, Labor and Social Affairs, and Transparency Committees.

During one such Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting to discuss a proposed amendment to the Basic Law regarding responsibility for embarking on a large-scale military operation, one of our members read aloud the relevant passage from the State Comptroller’s report on Tzuk Eitan Operation Protective Edge [the 2014 Gaza War] which concluded that political options had not been examined before initiating the war. She proposed “adding to the bill a demand to review all possible political and diplomatic actions that might prevent future wars”, noting that “history knows too many unnecessary and failed wars, both in Israel and elsewhere, most of them not preceded by vigorous political action.” During an Education Committee session, a WWP member shared another of our positions, stating, “it is important to introduce classes on peace as a default component in every school’s curriculum in order to address conflict resolution and conflict management not as a slogan but as a core lesson." 

Read more here  about our determination to influence decision-makers while simultaneously creating a critical mass of Israelis demanding a negotiated agreement.

תיאור תמונה

WWP’s response to new nation-state law

“As a movement with Jewish, Arab, religious, and secular women from the full political spectrum, as a movement that seeks to find commonalities and join people together, as a movement demanding a better future for all – we hope for days of sharing, friendship, equality, and peace for all Israeli citizens.

We call on our political leaders to base their work on Israel’s Declaration of Independence which clearly states that Israel will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; safeguard the Holy Places of all religions

We will continue to work together, in Hebrew and in Arabic and to march, to act, to wage peace among us as we work to wage peace with our neighbors. This is our obligation and our responsibility.”

In addition to issuing the statement above, an ad-hoc nation-state-law team will soon guide a special session of the team of 200+ core activists from around the country. As a radically inclusive movement with two unwavering goals – a negotiated agreement with equal representation of diverse women in all aspects of negotiation – we have learned to proceed at a deliberate pace that honors our ten principles at all times. Click here for a one-page list of our principles in English.

 

WWP at the Gaza border

Although we cannot share with you the stench of burnt fields or the eery quiet of charred trees stripped of birdsong and of rustling leaves – we hope this 2-minute video  communicates both our sorrow and sense of solidarity with residents of the western Negev. As you know, we will continue to do everything in our power to change the violent reality in which we live, to normalize relations with our neighbors in Gaza, and to ensure a peaceful life on both sides.

Several hundred WWP members marched through the Tel G’ama archeological site scorched by kite bombs launched from Gaza in late June.

our Mothers' Tent moves on

After hosting more than 6,500 women, men, and children over 72 days from across the political spectrum and from every part of the country and many parts of the world, our highly popular pop-up project, the Mothers’ Tent, ended with a march from its temporary home, Jerusalem’s Rose Garden opposite the Knesset to the Prime Minister’s official residence. During the closing ceremony outside the PM’s compound, several WWP members from Israel’s South spoke about living on the brink of war, including a mother of four whose older daughter served in a military funerals unit during the 2014 Gaza War and older son just completed his service in a fighting unit. “There is not a mother in Israel who doesn’t want peace,” she said. The Mother’s Tent now becomes a roving peace tent with events and activities planned for destinations throughout Israel. Read about a personal experience of the Tent.  

One of the tent’s many distinguished guests included Paul Rusesabagina, who, as a hotel manager in Rwanda’s capital during the Rwandan genocide, hid and protected 1,200 Hutu and Tutsi refugees

Read more about what the tent has meant to us and how the phrase “peace radar” was coined by a WWP activist in her moving reflection on the Mothers’ Tent


delegation to Northern Ireland

The Reverend Gary Mason,

Six WWP members took part in a training program in Belfast in July led by the Reverend Gary Mason, founder of the Rethinking the Conflict Institute. Designed specifically for WWP, it was made possible through the support of the Irish Ambassador to Israel, Alison Kelly and the Irish Foreign Ministry. Its purpose was to learn about the long and violent conflict in Northern Ireland and the peace process that eventually brought it to an end with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement twenty years ago this year. This coming autumn, our delegation will share with us in detail what they learned and how they were inspired. 

Our group met with women who helped end the violence and are now engaged in the fragile process of peace-building, along with former members of fighting organizations from both sides who stated that, despite the tension that lingers between factions, they see it as their duty to prevent further mutual slaughter and care for their own communities in non-violent ways. “I do much more today for society than I did when I was a fighter,” admitted one of the men...read more here.

more international connections

Along with individual visitors from around the world, delegations from Brazil, Italy, the US, and France joined the Mothers' Tent during its 72-days in Jerusalem hundreds more pieces-for-peace have arrived recently from Japan, Sweden and Northern Ireland  teachers visiting from the state of Porto Alegre in southern Brazil met with WWP members on a visit to Israel and promised to create pieces-for-peace in their schools Viennese students  are making a video about WWP   a small synagogue community in northeastern Vermont, USA hosted a WWP member [see the above photo] and wrote, “We have renewed hope for peace in Israel through the actions of WWP." 

share your own connection to us in our FB groups for supporters only,here in English or here in Spanish; we will do our best to include it in a future update.

women waging peace: Nitzan Senior...

Nitzan Senior, a 32-year-old journalist, writes, “I joined WWP after my brother Nir fought in Operation Tzuk Eitan [the 2014 Gaza War]. He came out unharmed, unlike other fighters in his unit, some of them killed and others wounded. During that difficult summer, I began to feel strong anxiety and suffer from the fear that something bad would happen. Despite the mental exertion, I took part in a number of dialogue groups with Palestinian women in an attempt to soften this pain a bit. At that same time, I founded the Young Politicians Project to encourage young women to enter the political arena on both the national and local level. Read about the prize Nitzan received from the Knesset for her work, about her family and about her vision for the future.

...and Vivian Silver

Vivian lives on Kibbutz Be'eri just opposite Gaza. “It's hard for me to think about the possibility of another war, because it will not bring us closer to any solution. It will only cause more loss and destruction,” she says "When rockets fall in our area and the media announces that there were no casualties, I want to shout: “What are you talking about?? There are thousands of emotionally wounded among us – children and adults alike!”

Read more  about how Vivian came to Israel, to peace activism, to the women’s movement and to her many contributions to WWP.

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