Operation Protective Fast: Striving for peace between Israelis and Palestinians

Members of group embark on 50-day fast in an effort to re-spark the peace process with the Palestinian.

By ARIEL BARBIERI-AGHIB
July 9, 2015 03:31
2 minute read.
women wage peace

WOMEN WAGE PEACE activists protest near the Prime Minister’s Residence in the capital yesterday.. (photo credit: ARIEL BARBIERI-AGHIB)

 
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Five members of the Women Wage Peace group began a symbolic 50-day fast on Wednesday, in a tent near the Prime Minister’s Residence, in an effort to re-spark the peace process with the Palestinians.

They pledged to fast 50 hours in the period through August 26, and timed their effort to mark the first anniversary of Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip, which lasted 50 days.

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The tent will be used as a space to sit in and be protected from the sun, and to host presentations and speakers.

The atmosphere was calm at the Operation Protective Fast tent on Wednesday, the women sitting in chairs and on mats, talking in Hebrew and English about the “situation.” They were all wearing white shirts with blue ribbons safety-pinned on; the women fasting were wearing blue signs that read “I am fasting” in Hebrew.

Occasionally a passerby would stop by to inquire about the protest.

There were women from Eilat, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Jaffa and more. They have permission from the police and the municipality to fast in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence.

Many of the women are mothers of boys; however this isn’t the only reason they support the movement, Zelda Harris told The Jerusalem Post.



Amal from Jaffa explained said she was there because she and many people from her community support peace, and this was her way of showing it. “It’s up to the government,” she said. “We are just people, the government should receive our demands, listen to them, and then act according to what we want, which is peace.”

Rachel Kessel, from Pardess Hanna, said the fast will have succeeded if the government resumes the talks with the Palestinian Authority, with 50 percent of the delegation being women.

“The feminine perspective is more geared toward empathy and finding solutions, doing the positive and not the negative; taking initiative to solve issues,” Kessel stipulated. “It is important to be in constant dialogue with the other side in order to really find a way to live together in the long run, even if it means making compromises.”

Women Wage Peace was founded after Operation Protective Edge in an effort to unite women who strive for peace rather than violence. They pledge to say “No more” to the military operations, arguing that peace is the only way to achieve a secure Israel.

They have a crowdfunding site, which currently has 121 investors who have raised a total of NIS 28,660 of the NIS 58,000 the group plans to raise.

According to the NGO’s mission statement, its main goals are to “influence politicians opinion-makers to work vigilantly toward achieving a political agreement” with the Palestinians as well as giving women more leadership roles in order to reach this goal.

They are calling upon all women in Israel – regardless of ethnicity, religion or race – who support their cause to join them at the fast. The fast is not being seen as a form of protest against the government, the organization specifies, rather as a means of making the issue of utmost priority for the government.

The fast is Women Wage Peace’s fourth event in the past two months, all of which are aimed at bringing the Palestinian and Israeli communities together under the common umbrella of peace.

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