The Current Crisis in Israel, Lebanon, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories — Bat Shalom Statement
We, members of Bat Shalom, an Israeli women’s peace organization, dedicated to ending the occupation and achieving a just, sustainable peace based on a two-state solution, regard the continuously escalating use of violence and force in our region as a direct threat rather than a potential solution.
It is our belief that the current escalation is a direct result of lack of political process to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories, including Gaza. Furthermore, the Israeli policy to de-legitimize a democratically elected Palestinian government, and thus unilaterally managing the conflict, led to the siege of Gaza and the violation of the basic human rights of an entire civilian population.
This political vacuum was misused both by Hamas and Hezbollah for their own political aims and the counter attacks on Israeli innocent civilians.
Therefore, as Israeli citizens, we call upon our government to enter into negotiations with the elected Palestinian government. An immediate step should be stopping the further destruction of Lebanon, a total cease-fire, and negotiations to bring about a prisoners exchange.
We call upon the international community, both individual states and through collective bodies, to bring the parties to the political track and to address the need for ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories, which will lead to the two-state solution.
Only political negotiations and a just and sustainable peace will guarantee security for all the civilians in the region.
This statement was issued on 20 July 20 2006 and is available at the Web site of the Coalition of Women for Peace.