ARTICLES & STORIES
Women From Across the World
Take Action Against Violence and Support Peace
By Alana Cherlin
In response to the recent eruption of violence and military operations in Israel, Lebanon, and Gaza, women around the world are raising their voices and are taking action to demonstrate their opposition to the fighting and bloodshed and to support peace.
Here is a sampling of some of these actions:
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Australia section, has sent a letter to the Australian Prime Minister, Hon. John Howard, expressing their view that military action is not a "solution" to the current conflict in the Middle East. WILPF (Australia) considers Israel's actions to be a disproportionate response to Hezbollah's abduction of Israeli soldiers and call for an immediate ceasefire and a new peace process brokered by the UN.
The International Committee of the World March of Women, based in Quebec, affirms that no military violence will resolve conflicts in the region or pave a path of peace and justice for all. (26/07/06)
The Jewish Women's Committee to End the Occupation (JWCEO) co-sponsored a silent vigil in front of the Israeli Consulate in Toronto on 4 August, demonstrating their opposition to Israel's military actions in Lebanon and Palestine. The JWCEO is also a co-sponsor of a mass rally and march on Saturday, 12 August, beginning at the Israeli Consulate and marching to the U.S. Consulate.
On Friday 4 August, Feminist International Radio Endeavour (FIRE) broadcast an 8-hour live broadcast via internet entitled, "Voices of Resistance." The broadcast focused on "women's voices and perspectives in reaction to the military aggression in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel." Audience members were invited to call or write during the program to voice their solidarity with women in the Middle East. For each email and phone call received, FIRE sent $5 and $10, respectively, to women's organizations in the region working for peace and justice. The broadcast was repeated three times during a 24-hour streaming schedule at: HYPERLINK "http://www.radiofeminista.net" www.radiofeminista.net.
Women peace activists in Israel are taking to the streets to show their opposition to ferocious attacks on Lebanon and the occupation of
Members of the International Women's Commission for a Just and Sustainable Palestinian-Israeli Peace (IWC) convened an emergency meeting in Athens, July 13, 2006. Following deliberations, they issued an appeal for an immediate end to the fighting and a return to the political process.
On 14 July 2006 Women in Black and the Coalition of Women for Peace organized protest vigils in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, calling for Israel to withdraw from Gaza and Lebanon and open negotiations for the exchange of prisoners.
An event entitled "Women Talk About the War" was held on July 26th in Tel Aviv.
A women's demonstration, calling for an end to the war and killing of civilians, and demanding negotiations and exchange of prisoners, was held on 29 July 2006 in Tel Aviv. The march was organized by "Women Against War" feminist organizations.
On 31 July at 7:00 pm the "Women Against War" movement and Bat Shalom organized a demonstration against the war in Lebanon and Gaza and the Qana Massacre in front of the American consulate in West Jerusalem. The "Women Against War" movement and Bat Shalom are organizing daily protests in front of the Israeli Prime Minister's residence in West Jerusalem.
Bat Shalom, an Israeli feminist peace organization, has issued a statement condemning the on-going Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories and the counter attacks by Hammas and Hezbollah on Israeli innocent civilians. The statement calls upon the Israeli government to enter negotiations with the Palestinian government for an immediate ceasefire and a prisoner exchange.
The Collective for Research and Training on Development- Action (CRTD-A), an NGO based in Beirut and focused on gender and development, is one of several organizations endorsing a campaign of "civil resistance" in Lebanon. This campaign will begin on 12 August with a civilian convoy that "will carry relief as an expression of solidarity for the inhabitants of the heavily destroyed south." The campaign will continue with a series of civil actions.
Women in Black in Castello de la Plana have joined other groups in the region to rally in front of the sub-delegation of the government every Thursday during the conflict, to demonstrate their opposition to the conflict.
Feminist Initiative, a women's organization in Sweden, has demanded an immediate end to the violent attacks on Lebanon. In addition, they condemn the violence aimed against the civilian population of Israel. Feminist Initiative believes that peace negotiations are the only possible solution for the region. Feminist Initiative supports UN resolution 1325: Women, Peace and Security that clearly states that women must be an active part of conflict resolution.
The Global Women's Strike participated in a fast day to stop the "US-backed Israeli slaughter in Lebanon and Gaza." The event was organized by Jews for Justice for Palestinians and was held outside the Israeli Embassy in London, 9am-7pm, 3 August 2006.
On 31 July, various NGOs housed in the Church Center for the United Nations, signed on to a banner reading, "End Violence Now- Pursue Peace." The banner was hung from the side of the building facing the UN. The organizations also participated in an event, at which there was a reading of the Preamble Charter for the United Nations and first-hand accounts of the violence written by Lebanese, Palistinian, and Israelis. Throughout the week following the ceremony, organizations from the building posted official statements to support an end to violence and the pursuit of peace.
CodePink, a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement, is currently calling for a ceasefire in Israel and Lebanon. They have posted a message on their website: HYPERLINK "http://www.codepinkalert.org" www.codepinkalert.org, urging people to contact US Ambassador John Bolton at the U.S. Mission to the UN and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to ask for an immediate ceasefire, encouraging participation in local demonstrations and vigils and joining in a hunger fast, which is now in its third week and has over 4,000 participants.
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