Women Wage Peace: How women contribute to peace in Israel and Palestine

Peace Award 2019: Award Winner "Award of the Donors"

How women contribute to peace - Women Wage Peace
A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that is acceptable to both sides - that is a goal of the Women Wage Peace movement. However, the women do not want to leave the negotiations to the men: they want to be involved in the decision-making process.

Enough is enough. This is what many women in Israel thought after the bloody military conflicts in Gaza in the summer of 2014. They founded Women Wage Peace, a grass-roots movement which hundreds of women quickly joined: In November, 1000 participants from Israel set off by train to the border town of Sderot.

How women contribute to peace in Israel and Palestine - Women Wage PeaceIt was the first campaign initiated by Women Wage Peace and many have since followed. In this way, women organised peace marches, peacefully demonstrated in front of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, and created spaces for meeting and encounter, in particular for women from Israel and Palestine. Tens of thousands of women and men support the campaign: In the autumn of 2016, 30,000 people from the whole region took part in a 200 kilometre "Walk of Hope". For two whole weeks, they walked from the north and from the south to Jerusalem.

Women Wage Peace counts 40,000 members and is thus one of the largest grass-roots movements in Israel. And the women in Palestine are also organising themselves. The movement stands out because of its flat, decentralised and autonomous structure. There are more than 100 local groups in the whole region that organise events, lectures and workshops on women‘s movements as well as on national and international women's rights.

At the same time, Women Wage Peace are not aligned to any political party. Indeed the organisation aims to appeal to a broad group of women, in particular those who are not politically active in everyday life but who take care of their children and the future generations. Accordingly, the activists belong to diverse groups and communities of Israeli and Palestinian society. They are young and old, have different religions and world views, and come from the centre and from the periphery.

Women Wage Peace does not support one specific solution to the conflict but rather follows two main aims: The Israeli government should sit down at the negotiation table with the Palestinians in order to negotiate a peace agreement acceptable to both sides. In the process, women from the civil society should participate in all aspects of the decision-making process.

How women contribute to peace in Israel and Palestine - Women Wage PeaceAlthough the political and social environment is hostile towards them, the commitment shown by the women does not wane. During their campaigns they actively seek a dialogue with the elected representatives of the people and demand regular hearings at political committees.

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