Palestinian and Israeli Women Paving the Path Toward Peace.
Two Women’s Organizations Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize – One Palestinian and One Israeli.
By Heidi Basch-Harod and Erin Pedersen
Committed to Peace.
On December 20, 2023, the Nobel Peace Prize Working Group of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, submitted Women of the Sun and Women Wage Peace, Palestinian and Israeli organizations, respectively, as nominees for the 2024 Nobel Peace Prize. The two organizations have closely cooperated over the last three years.
Women of the Sun.
Women of the Sun is an independent Palestinian women’s association, established in July 2021, that includes all sects and segments inside and outside Palestinian society – women, youth, and children – from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Diaspora. They seek to create a solid, long-term women’s movement to spread cultural and national awareness and the importance of community peace.
Source: Women of the Sun
Women Wage Peace.
Women Wage Peace (WWP) is a broad, politically unaffiliated movement, acting to prevent the next war and to promote a non-violent, respectful, and mutually accepted solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the active participation of women through all stages of negotiations. Founded in the aftermath of the 50-day Gaza War/Operation Protective Edge of 2014, WWP has grown to 45,000 Israeli members, the largest grassroots peace movement in Israel today.
Source: Women Wage Peace
The Mothers’ Call.
Under the aegis of the Mother’s Call, the two organizations agree that: “We Palestinian and Israeli women from all walks of life, are united in the human desire for a future of peace, freedom, equality, rights, and security for our children and the next generations.” They believe that ”the majority of the people of our nations also share our mutual desire,” and “call on the peoples of both nations, Palestinian and Israeli, and peoples of the region, to join our call and demonstrate their support for the resolution of the conflict.”
Women at Risk During Conflict.
Various active wars continue to mount around the world, from Tigray, to Sudan, to Ukraine, to Gaza, to Israel, to Myanmar, to Somalia, to name a few. As of 2022, 614 million women and girls are living in conflict-affected countries. This number marks a 50% increase from 2017.
Source: UN Women
Women’s Bodies Become a Battlefield in Violent Conflicts.
Women and children are the most vulnerable to all types of exploitation and abuse that increase during violent conflict. The deteriorated mental and physical well-being suffered by all victims of war poses an extra threat to women and their reproductive health and needs. Pregnant and postnatal mothers are especially at risk when infrastructure is damaged and when even basic needs are no longer being met. Displacement, separation from the rest of the family, and homelessness lead to increases in trafficking of women and girls, sexual exploitation, and rape, which is often used as a weapon of war.
Shifting the Paradigm.
Research has shown that countries with greater gender equality are more likely to resolve conflicts without violence and are less likely to use military force to resolve international disputes. Conversely, countries with more significant gender gaps are more likely to be involved in inter- and intrastate conflict. Women’s participation in conflict prevention and resolution can improve outcomes before, during, and after conflict.
Source: Council on Foreign Relations
Shifting the Paradigm, Cont’d.
Women’s safety and rights are often overlooked in the larger context of conflict. While their voices, often silenced by the chaos of war, remain a beacon of hope and determination. Yet, women, advocating for a better future for their families, communities, and societies, hold the key to forging a path toward reconciliation and a brighter future, where our dreams for peace can finally be realized.
Source: Women’s Voices Now
“The journey to peace is long and full of challenges. We maintain our strength and determination as more and more women join the movement…We no longer take the back seat and are determined to act persistently to achieve freedom and a just, honorable life for Palestinian and Israeli children.”
–Dr. Reem Hajajri founder of “Women of the Sun”
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