“We are allowed to say this out loud – we are lovers of peace!” was the statement that summed up the feelings of more than 30,000 Israeli and Palestinian women who took part in the recent Women Wage Peace marches in Palestine. Dressed in white, the women marched together through the desert to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, to demand an end to the conflict. After two weeks of events there was optimism that the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would take another step forward in finding a solution for peace.
Women Wage Peace is a grassroots organization calling for a ‘bilaterally acceptable political agreement’. It was founded in the aftermath of the Gaza War (2014), when organizers felt there was a need for a different approach. Former Knesset (Israeli Parliament) member Shakib Shanan, whose son was one of two border police officers killed near Jerusalem’s holiest site this past July, spoke during the march. “In the name of this huge crowd and hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens, I call to Abbas and Netanyahu, ‘Enough already! Sit together! Sit together! We want peace! Listen to our cry, it comes from our hearts.'”