Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
East Bay and San Francisco Branches
Work to Advance Peace, Justice and Human Rights
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Statement on the Escalation of Violence in Palestine and Israel
WILPF is deeply saddened at the ongoing and escalating loss of life in Palestine and Israel, which take place in the context of ongoing Israeli occupation, war crimes and impunity. We denounce all attacks against civilians by all parties. Indiscriminate attacks on civilians are a crime under international law and cannot be justified.
States are a collective of peoples in all our diversity with a right to self-determination and to a free, dignified and safe life. Permanent peace is built on the foundations of freedom, justice, nonviolence, human rights and equality. Colonialism, occupation, apartheid policies, and militarised security have denied the possibilities for peace. Despite multiple UN resolutions and repeated calls, Israel has not ended its illegal occupation.
Current attacks must be seen in the context of an escalation of militarised activities in recent years by Israel’s hardline new government and in conjunction with decades of continued and repeated violations of international law. A failure to uphold international law and the absence of any effective action by the international community has emboldened impunity and the continuation of an apartheid regime. It has to end.
The Israeli government has enforced a complete siege on Gaza. No water, food, electricity or fuel is allowed into the territory. Collective punishment further exacerbates ethnic cleansing and must stop. The siege and ongoing attacks will increase social and economic inequalities that perpetuate vulnerabilities and disadvantage women. This will compound the gendered impacts of the existing 16-year illegal blockade on Gaza. The constant aggression has left youth in unimaginable despair.
Israel’s right to security is prioritised over Palestinians’ legal rights and safety. The Palestinian people have been left alone and are denied the right to defend themselves and their land. Their right to peaceful protest has been penalised. Their efforts to isolate Israel culturally and economically have been criminalised. Even human rights defenders have been labelled as terrorists.
The absolute necessity is to prevent further atrocities and loss of life. For this, we need an immediate ceasefire and a release of hostages by Hamas and of those illegally detained by Israel. A durable and fair peace will only be achieved by eliminating the root causes of violence and oppression. The international community should not wait for yet another escalation of hostilities to create a realistic path for justice and peace. We must act now.
Members states and the responsible bodies of the UN must uphold the UN Charter and:
• Demand that Israel, as an occupying power, abide by its obligations under international law and make all necessary efforts to protect civilian populations in the Occupied Palestinian territories
• Call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the use of explosive weapons by all parties in all populated areas.
• Demand that Israel lift the siege on Gaza and ensure access to goods essential to the survival of the people in the enclave.
• Re-instate aid so as to avoid collective punishment of Palestinians by donors and member states.
• Initiate a UN-brokered process for peace and justice that centres Palestinian voices and perspectives, particularly women, to enable a move towards peace.
• End military and other support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its apartheid regime.
WILPF US Encourages Members to Take Action
WILPF US calls for an immediate ceasefire and talks that address root causes and include all parties. We urge WILPF members to quickly send the prepared messages linked below – and share them with friends and community. Also, contact elected officials and the media. We offer talking points to convey your passion for peace. We encourage you to advocate for nonviolent means to end Israeli apartheid.
As more Palestinians and Israelis die and suffer injury, as more homes and infrastructure are destroyed, we call for a just peace based on equality, human rights and dignity for all. We endorse the following messages:
- Stand for human rights and safety for all people and build a foreign policy that will actually end the violence (from Jewish Voice for Peace)
- Stop funding Israel’s massacres (from US Campaign for Palestinian Rights)
- Call for immediate ceasefire and end to violence and occupation in Palestine and Israel (from American Friends Service Committee)
- Occupation is indefensible (from CodePink)
- Call your Representative (202) 224-3121, Senators (202) 224-3121, President Biden 202-456-1414 and Secretary of State Blinken (202) 456-1111.
- Call your Members of Congress at their home offices if the DC switchboard is busy.
- Write to your media outlets.
For more information or to reach the Middle East Peace and Justice Action Committee, contact MEPJAction@wilpfus.org
Message from Madeleine Rees, WILPF Secretary General
Greetings. I am writing to you in these appalling times. There is so much for WILPF to do. We can never give up.
It is also time for new leadership, new ways of ensuring we can be a dynamic movement that can bring the change we need. Therefore, I am also writing to share with you my decision to retire next year. It feels strange to be writing this as WILPF has been a way of life for 14 years.
My decision is in part because WILPF is strong: membership is growing and we have a fabulous team in the International Secretariat to support that. The Secretariat is strong and funded so that we can work with membership and governance to deliver on the International Programme. The International Board is strong and committed.
We have much to do, as WILPF, but also individually. I am not exactly going off to watch birds and go biking (though there can be more of that than I can have time for right now 😊), so I will be doing my bit in different ways and always in the pursuit of permanent peace.
We are going to organize calls with sections in the coming weeks so that I can communicate with you more personally than the dryness of email. I hope many of you will be able to make it.
Mme. Mildred Aristide Visits the Bay Area
Mme. Mildred Aristide, the former First Lady of Haiti and a member of the Board of Administration of the University of the Dr. Aristide Foundation (UNIFA), spoke at the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland on October 21st. The event, Stand with Haiti, was sponsored by the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund and Haiti Action Committee. The event in Oakland is available to view here.
As always, Haitians continue to persevere in the face of the most daunting challenges. One shining example is the ongoing work of the University of the Dr. Aristide Foundation, which now has over 5,000 students and faculties in Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Physical Therapy, Law, Architecture, Economics, Education, and Agriculture, and just opened a new teaching hospital. UNIFA embodies the spirit of the new Haiti being built under the most trying conditions.
To help support the vital work of UNIFA and its teaching hospital at this critical time, please donate at haitiemergencyrelief.org
JANE ADDAMS: TOGETHER WE RISE
Watch this inspiring one-hour documentary about Jane Addams and the many other amazing women around her, who worked tirelessly for social and political reform, founded Hull House, the first settlement house for immigrants in the United States, helped enact child labor laws and prison reform, joined the fight for women’s right to vote, pushed for new health and safety laws, opposed World War I, and helped found Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. For her many accomplishments she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
Write to your local PBS affiliate to ask that they show this remarkable documentary.
EXPLORE WILPF TODAY
WILPF East Bay, P. O. Box 13083, Oakland, CA 94661
WILPF-SF, P. O. Box 590253, San Francisco, CA 94159
National WILPF www.wilpfus.org
International WILPF: www.wilpf.org