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The Jerusalem Link      
    Additional Declaration
 

International Women’s Day 2003 Declaration

We, Palestinian and Israeli members of the Jerusalem Link (Jerusalem Center for Women and Bat Shalom), wish to draw your attention to one of the most serious consequences of the continued Israeli occupation of Palestine since 1967, particularly in light of the potential war on Iraq.

Over the last few years, the Israeli government has refused to enter into political negotiations with the PNA, with the intention of maintaining control over Palestinian land and destroying any possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian state. As an alternative to negotiations, and in an attempt to break the will of the Palestinian people, Israel has introduced illegal measures, which seriously and repeatedly violate the 4th Geneva Convention. These measures include repeated military invasions, assassination and arbitrary killings, curfews, local expulsions (small scale quiet ethnic cleansing), mass imprisonment, home demolitions, sieges of villages, camps and cities, denial of family reunification, ID confiscation, and systematic practices to undermine the education and health sectors.

Two policies, extending the settlements and building a separation fence between Israel and Palestine, have involved direct confiscation of Palestinian land, but have had additional consequences as well. The by-pass roads linking settlements are strengthening an Apartheid system through parcellation of Palestinian land. As a consequence of government tolerance of Israeli settlers' lawlessness of incursions and violence, some Palestinians have been forced to abandon land cultivation and even their homes. The separation fence disrupts normal communal functioning. In short, contravening international law, human rights norms and laws, the basis for a secure and orderly life in the occupied territories has been systematically destroyed.

Given this context, we are very disturbed by calls of a number of Israeli public figures that Israel should ensure a demographic advantage, as well as by calls in favor of expulsion in the event of a war against Iraq. These calls echo historic Israeli policies that feed the notion of "transfer" and provide legitimization in public and Israeli governing circles. Transfer - coercion by one or another means to get Palestinians to leave - need not take the form of direct expulsion. By incremental acts of collective punishment, by land confiscation, by destroying the Palestinian economy and political structures, by making life intolerable, Israel can actually carry out direct expulsion (transfer as a mechanism for ethnic cleansing) before the international community has time to respond.

It is for this reason, out of responsibility to ourselves as feminist peace activists and to our peoples, that we ask your cooperation in sensitizing the international community to this threat. We believe the road to peace is justice, and we have chosen to together travel that path through political dialogue and with mutual respect. Our vision for a just peace includes a Palestinian state on the land occupied in 1967, sharing Jerusalem – two capitals for two states, dismantling of Jewish settlements and a just solution to the question of refugees according to relevant UN resolutions.

We 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. It is the role of individual states to pressure the Israeli government to stop its oppressive measures of occupation using all possible means as part of their bilateral relations. Also, it is the role of individual states to work collectively with other member states of the international community and use international bodies to develop mechanisms to protect Palestinian civilians.

18 February 2003
The Jerusalem Center for Women and Bat Shalom

Palestinian and Israeli Women Demand Immediate End to Occupation

Israel has launched a war against defenseless Palestinian communities. The terrorization of innocent civilians, the unlawful killings and arrests, and the destruction of property, infrastructures and institutions, can only lead to further escalation, prolonging the sufferings of both nations and destroying any prospects for peace. The climate of fear and the obsession with reprisals that grips our two peoples obscure the true cause of this cycle of violence - the continued and unlawful Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people and their land.

It is our role, women on both sides, to speak out loudly against the humanitarian crimes committed in order to permanently subjugate an entire nation. Right now, in the face of uncontrolled military turmoil, we jointly ask the international community of states to accept its duty and mandate by international humanitarian law to prevent abuses of an occupying power, by officially intervening to protect the Palestinian people.

Beyond the immediate crisis, we know that there is one future for us both. The deliberate harming of innocent civilians, Palestinian or Israeli, must not be condoned. By working together we improve our chances for a better future. We believe that women can develop an alternative voice promoting effective peace initiatives and sound approaches. We undertake to work for this goal together.

Women have already begun to give substance to the recognition that a just peace is a peace between equals. When we call for a Palestinian state (on the territories occupied on 4th of June 1967) alongside the state of Israel, we envision true sovereignty for each state, including control over land and natural resources. We envision a settlement based on international law, which would endorse sharing the whole city of Jerusalem, the dismantling of the settlements, and a just solution to the question of refugees according to relevant UN resolutions. In continuing our joint work together, we want not only to achieve an end to the occupation; we want to help create the conditions for a life of security and dignity for both peoples.

We call upon all women and men, young and old, to join us in our sincere quest to preserve life, human dignity and freedom in our region. Dehumanization, hatred, revenge, and oppression contribute nothing to the resolution of a century of conflict. Mutual recognition and respect of each other’s individual and collective rights will pave the way for peace making.

April 2002
The Jerusalem Center for Women and Bat Shalom

"JERUSALEM DAY" - June 1, 2000
Sharing Jerusalem: Two Capitals for Two States

We, Israeli and Palestinian women, are united in our efforts to realize a just resolution to the conflict between our two peoples.

The Israeli government and the right wing are perpetuating the schism in the city, hiding the truth behind their misleading slogan of a "United Jerusalem".

The truth is that Jerusalem has not been united since 1948. Jerusalem’s walls resonate with the resentment and hostility that separate West from East. Palestinian Jerusalemites in occupied East Jerusalem continue to suffer from the injustice and discrimination legitimized by the manipulation of bureaucratic regulations. Their homes are destroyed and their lands and identity cards are confiscated.

Palestinians, too, have inalienable historical, national, political, cultural and religious rights to the city of Jerusalem.

An authentically "United Jerusalem" will be possible only when there is mutual agreement and recognition between the two nations, Palestine and Israel, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.

We urge you to join the "Alternative Jerusalem Day" events in the city this week:
Human Rights Fair: May 31st, 16:00, New Gate
Sharing Jerusalem - Two Capitals for Two States: June 1st, 16:00, New Gate
he Jerusalem Center for Women and Bat Shalom

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2000

In the spirit of International Women’s Day 2000, we call for the struggle for justice to continue so that women everywhere may live lives free of violence, poverty, oppression, and racism. For us, Palestinian and Israeli women, finally ending the occupation is a critical part of that struggle.

We protest and demand the end to the violence and oppression of Israeli settlement expansion, house demolitions, land confiscation, and all human rights violations.

We, Israeli and Palestinian women, are united in a joint vision of peace and a joint struggle for justice as steps toward a future peace that will guarantee good neighborly relations. We call for the immediate resumption of negotiations toward a final settlement by September, 2000. A resolution of the issues of final borders, settlements, refugees, water rights, and Jerusalem must be based on international law and legality that will guarantee parity and a two state solution.

The vision we share as women of a world free of violence, racism, oppression and inequality is one which is inextricably linked to a just settlement of the conflict in our region. And may we then, Palestinian and Israeli women, begin creating an intentional and sustained culture of peace, with women at the heart of reconstruction and reconciliation.
Bat Shalom and The Jerusalem Center for Women
8.3.2000

Jerusalem Day 1999 The Time Has Come to Share Jerusalem

We, Palestinian and Israeli women, united in a joint effort to end the conflict between our two peoples, re-affirm our commitment to end the occupation and share Jerusalem: Two capitals for two sovereign states.

We condemn the unilateral actions of the Israeli government that forestall a shared Jerusalem:

Ongoing threats to close down the Orient House and other Palestinian institutions
The revocation of residency rights of Palestinian Jerusalemites
The demolition of homes of Palestinian Jerusalemites
Confiscation of Palestinian lands

To achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, our leaders must speak out courageously: The time has come to share Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Center for Women
P.O. Box 51630 Jerusalem, Palestine
Tel. (02) 244-7068

Bat Shalom
P.O. Box 8083 Jerusalem, Israel
Tel. (02) 563-2622