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 Women Resist War and Occupation
 Women in Black, international
 August 17, 2005
 

We, Palestinian, Israeli, and international women gathered this week [August 12-16] in Jerusalem for the ‘Women in Black 13th International Conference’:

1. Affirm our commitment to work together as a world-wide network of women dedicated to freedom, equality, justice, peace, women’s rights and a world free of violence. Agree to meet again to continue our fight and to reaffirm our commitment to the work and goals of our network, in the next Women in Black International Conference to be held in the Spanish state.

2. Insist on the participation of women as full partners in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, and in the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements according to UN Resolution 1325. The active and equal participation of women of diverse backgrounds in decision making is crucial to ensure that issues related to women’s economic, social, national, ethnic and cultural rights, freedom of choices and security are raised and effectively addressed.

3. Demand social and economic justice and condemn the exploitative system and structure of multinational corporations’ globalization that drive millions of people all over the world into poverty, and thrive at the cost of social justice and human development.

4. Work for a world where difference does not mean inequality, oppression or exclusion, and struggle against all causes of oppression and discrimination based on gender, race, sexual preference, age, national and ethnic identity, and religion.

5.Challenge the militaristic policies of our governments, call for disarmament, and condemn the interference of the US and its allies in the political affairs of other sovereign nations.

6.Commit ourselves to promote education and a language of truth and hope that reflect our right to justice, to remedy and to reparation, that are the basis for the creation of a world based on the values of equality, justice, cooperation, and solidarity.

7. Condemn feminicide and all forms of violence, sexual, physical or psychological that women are subjected to in areas of conflict, in militarized zones and in their daily lives.

8. Demand an immediate end to the war and United States occupation of Iraq and stand in solidarity with Iraqi women in their struggle for their legal and human rights

9. Call for a just and sustainable peace between Israel and Palestine based on international law and human rights, to be achieved by *An end to the Israeli occupation *Immediate cessation of all actions against civilians, assassinations, closures, house demolitions, land confiscation, settlement building, building of the Apartheid Wall, water deprivation, denial of access to schools, hospitals and places of work and worship *The immediate release of all political prisoners *Dismantlement of all Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 *Immediate final status negotiations leading to a viable sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel on the June 4th, 1967 borders. Peace and a resolution of the conflict will not be achieved by unilateral actions such as the disengagement *The recognition of Jerusalem as two capitals for two states, and the immediate ending of all unilateral actions leading to the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem *Israel’s recognition of responsibility for the plight of Palestinian refugees as a pre-requisite to finding a just and lasting resolution of the refugee question in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions *Recognition of the national and civil rights of the Palestinian minority in Israel

Though not the same yardstick can be used for occupied and occupiers, we recognize the lack of security, fear, and emotional anxiety experienced by Palestinian and Israelis affected by the continuation of conflict and violence, and by being civilian victims to the conflict itself. Believe that international community intervention is critically needed to make sure Israel is held accountable for its actions in the occupied territories and to build a just peace between Israel and Palestine. We support the call upon the international community to impose non-violent and effective measures such as divestment and sanctions on Israel, for as long as Israel continues to violate international law, and continues the occupation and the oppression of the Palestinian people

WE CALL ON ALL WOMEN AND MEN IN THE WORLD TO JOIN US IN OUR QUEST TO PRESERVE LIFE, HUMAN DIGNITY AND FREEDOM IN THE WORLD, MAKING OUR VISION OF FREEDOM, PEACE, AND JUSTICE A REALITY.

[Jewish Peace News Commentary: During the recent international Women in Black conference held in Jerusalem, at which JPN editor Rela Mazali gave her excellent talk entitled "Iraq, Palestine and Resisting Erasure", the Women in Black participants from all over the world made a declaration in support of Cindy Sheehan. Sheehan is being widely credited with kick-starting a mass appeal of the peace movement in the U.S. and with furthering the issue of withdrawal on the political agenda (a number of U.S. congress people have raised the issue for discussion in Congress). Notable in WIB's declaration, in addition to the international support for Cindy Sheehan, is the expansion of the category of mourners. This is not only a movement of mothers; as Women in Black, it is all women connected to soldiers as wives, mothers, or sisters. In the world at large, the mourners include all partners, parents and siblings. By supporting Cindy Sheehan and her campaign, we can directly counter President Bush's grotesque logic that more soldiers and civilians must die to honor the memory of those already lost.]

Women in Black is a world-wide network of women committed to peace with justice and actively opposed to injustice, war, militarism, and other forms of violence.

The statement above was delivered at the International Women in Black Conference, in Jerusalem, August 17, 2005.

To readers of the Final Declaration:

It has come to our attention that the Final Declaration of the international conference of Women in Black is being used as the basis of various international statements and activities.

Therefore, we would like to make it clear that the statements that deal with refugees and sanctions do not represent our views.

We are Israeli members of the conference Organizing Committee, and therefore it is important for us to distance ourselves publicly from these statements. We do so as individuals, not as members of the organizing committee or of any organization.

These two issues—refugees and sanctions—are the subject of great controversy within the Israeli peace movement itself. Thousands of articles and discussions have dealt with them. In our opinion, the Declaration states only the more extreme point of view, a view that has not even been adopted by any of the nine member organizations of the Coalition of Women for Peace (in Israel). Indeed, the Israeli movement of Women in Black has only one principle—end the occupation.

Our objections, in brief, are as follows:

1) About refugees. We believe in a two-state solution, in which Israel and Palestine will live side by side in safety and peace. We believe, to quote the Coalition's principle, that "Israel must recognize its share of responsibility for the results of the 1948 war, and cooperate in finding a just solution for the Palestinian refugees." The Final Declaration, on the other hand, calls for compliance with UN resolutions, some of them almost 60 years old, which state that the Palestinians have a right to return to what is now Israel, without considering the current circumstances. This is very far from consensus inside the Israeli peace movement, and not compatible with a two-state solution.

2) About sanctions. Our goal is to end the occupation as quickly as possible. Therefore, we are in favor of a campaign to cut off funding to the infrastructure of occupation—the settlements, the army, the companies that supply its needs. However, the Final Declaration calls for "divestment and sanctions on Israel", not "on the occupation". A blanket boycott of Israel would boomerang, and give support to the Israeli right wing. It would only entrench the occupation.

We would appreciate circulation of these remarks, so that individuals and organizations that are using this declaration as a source of inspiration will know that these are passages that we do not support.

Gila Svirsky, Jerusalem
Pnina Firestone, Jerusalem
Ednna Gluckman, Tel Aviv