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 About Bat Shalom’s Letter to the Palestinians
 Amneh Badran, for The Jerusalem Center for Women, Palestine
 June 4, 2002
 
Dear friends and allies,

Attached you can find a copy of a public letter Bat Shalom has published today in Al-Quds Arabic newspaper. I believe it is a good start and we should give credit to those women who dare to speak out loudly during these times of abyss. The letter addresses Palestinian people on the day that marks 35 years of Israeli military occupation of 22% of historical Palestine on which we, Palestinians, strive to build our independent viable state beside Israel. This letter is very important for a number of reasons:

—The timing and occasion
—The symbolic and political significance
—It is an alternative public voice of political dialogue, incorporating the values of justice and common humanity.

This letter won't be the first, nor the last. Many, from both the Jerusalem Center for Women and Bat Shalom, will follow. Together we aim to create a public atmosphere of dialoguing through speaking/addressing each other by newspapers, radio and if possible TV. We will do that because we believe that we should tell each other that there are people who care about and feel with the other, there are people to speak to and there is a partner on the other side. Also, we want to stress that peace is possible but only between equals, not between oppressed and oppressor. Justice, responsibility, respect for human rights and transparency are crucial elements in this conflict and we dare to speak about them. We also dare to say that without these elements, both our peoples are doomed to a present and future of killing, destruction and humiliation. We believe civil society has a role to play during this time of crises and can contribute to a genuine process of peace building. Women are ready to come forward and we are committed to do our share.

Amneh Badran is Acting Director for the Jerusalem Center for Women. The Jerusalem Center for Women has been at the core of a Palestinian women's initiative to establish a Palestinian women's movement for peace and justice.