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Why the war in Near East ?

The Penelopes are questioning.

, par Joëlle Palmieri

The war in Near East makes the headlines of all newspapers, of all media. The TV channels exhibit Israelis suffering from attacks on one hand, and the declarations of besieged Palestinian leaders on the other hand. Politicians, military representatives, intellectuals, activists give us their opinions, but in this flow of information, we citizen look desperately for answers to our interrogations.


The war in Near East makes the headlines of all newspapers, of all media. The TV channels exhibit Israelis suffering from attacks on one hand, and the declarations of besieged Palestinian leaders on the other hand. Politicians, military representatives, intellectuals, activists give us their opinions, but in this flow of information, we citizen look desperately for answers to our interrogations :
WHY, before like now during the war, media do not give any echo to voices and actions of pacifist NGOs and activist groups, whether Palestinian or Israeli ? The current Israeli government, as well as the Hamas whose headquarter is in Gaza, have considered those for many years as internal betrayers who harm their objectives.
WHY don’t we hear in media the call sent out by a number of national and international organisations through the Women in Black network last February 27th ? Titled "the Palestinian people can not wait anymore", it was addressed among others to many representatives of the European Parliament in Brussels. "This call assembles us in a common struggle for a just and long-lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis. It has to be the one of all women and men who work on building a world without oppression, violence and inequalities.
WHY have the pacifist policies proposed by the Women in Black not been supported in time, and their numerous calls for international protection to respect the UN resolutions not taken into consideration ?
WHY is the Israeli-Palestinian crisis reduced to political and religious motives while it is rooted in social factors combined with an economical crisis ?
WHY did Sharon’s government impose economic sanctions to the West Bank (water and electricity cut, public transport stopped), in order to "fight terrorism", while experience has showed that they only deprive the people, exacerbate all forms of extremism and hinder the action of those in the opposition, who undertake the development of democratic processes ?
WHY has Mr Sharon not been arrested to be judged by the International Justice Court in the Hague, for the violation of the 1948 convention against genocide acts, as his responsibility in the massacres perpetrated 20 years ago in refugees camps in Lebanon has been largely acknowledged ?
WHY do the UN not proceed to the implementation of an international criminal law court of Palestine, like in Yugoslavia or in Rwanda, to judge the crimes perpetrated in the area ?
WHY has the protection of Palestinian and Israeli people been neglected and assistance not anticipated when the Israeli government had already made the decision for a military intervention ?
WHY is such an isolated war tolerated, in particular by the Americans, i.e. systematic strikes in occupied territories by the Israeli army and its new allies the Lebanese militia, under the complaisant eye of the Hamas leader ?
WHY is there such a little interest in the trade of weapons and in the strategies of military industrials ? Their stocks have been increasing since September 11. It’s interesting to point out that Israel is the fourth army force in the world.
WHY no words are ever given to the Women in Black of Israel ?
WHY no mention is ever made of the 1998 UNPD report, which stated that an expanse of an extra 6 billions dollars expense (the equivalent of 2 of the latest stealth bombers or a few tanks) would be enough to insure basic education for all in the world ? 80% of illiterate people are women, as well as 80 % of poors.
WHY are the exemplary struggles undertaken by women systematically ignored ? In this world, women resist to violence and try to find pacific solutions to preserve life.

In every racist, xenophobic or fascist system, the "other" one is deliberately ignored to be more easily beaten. Sharon gives a good example of this with Palestinian people when he has their papers been destroyed to deprive them of any symbolic existence. As for Yasir Arafat, he promises to make the women go back home when the "invader is destroyed".

We, the penelopes, refuse the simplistic choices that are brought to us : the stop of suicide bombings on one hand and the stop of Palestinian territories occupation and suspension of colonization operations on the other hand. Others solutions exist.
This spiral of crime is the result of a society based on domination values held by the men in power and the exclusion of women. That’s why women in Palestine like in Israel, are the most exposed and the first affected victims, like in Kosovo and Bosnia not long alo and in Irak, Afghanistan and Algeria now.

We invite all of you, who question the reasons of this war and refuse its fatality, to require from your governments and legal representatives to implement :
ß the suspension de facto of Israeli seats at all international authorities, the UN General Assembly included, for non-respect of the decisions of the same assembly (resolution 181(II), 1947 on the creation of the territories and the partition of Jerusalem ; resolution 194(III), 1948 on the right of return for the Palestinians) ;
ß economic and diplomatic sanctions towards Israel, as defined by the UN General Assembly, conformably to the terms of the 1950 resolutions for peace ;
ß the right of asylum for women who, as female human beings, undergo violations of their fundamental rights ;
ß the presence of women in the decisional entities, as they have been claiming it for a long time, which will allow policies of different nature, with constructive and pacifist values ;
ß a support to the NGOs that take action for a balanced society between men and women, to make these struggles visible ;
ß a negociated end to the war in Near East that integrates representatives of the civil society : the democratic parties, the women organizations and the pacifist associations, in order to guarantee a political and economic exit with a human face.

Please sign this call by returning it to us at info@penelopes.org. And spread it all over your networks.

April 1st, 2002.
French version - Spanish version

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