WILPF's Middle East campaign will examine the role of U.S. policy in the dynamics of current conflicts. It will educate communities to policy dimensions seldom discussed regarding Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. What economic interests underlie the power struggles in the region? What U.S. policy changes will end violence and promote justice? The campaign will work to bridge gaps, engage diverse groups in developing a women's vision for U.S. foreign policy, and join with women in the region to claim U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325's promise that women's active participation can bring peaceful, democratic resolution to the conflicts

Why a Middle East Campaign

Ninety years ago our WILPF founders had the vision and foresight to see the need for a Society of Nations and an International Court of Justice as a way to minimize and manage conflicts before they erupted into war. They founded the League as a means through which women could organize themselves and work effectively to bring about the needed changes.

Today we must restate our vision for peace and call for a change in the direction of US Foreign policy. We call on elected officials to acknowledge the International Court of Justice, respect the dignity and human rights of every individual, recognize women's equality and adhere to the intent of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter, with specific reference to UN Resolutions 181,194, 242, 338, and other relevant resolutions regarding the settlement of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

We call for a policy that will change to an economy of peace based on humanitarian values, ending US Military aid to Israel and a US Middle East policy with emphasis on long denied Justice for the Palestinian people. A just peace includes a future of cooperation between Palestine and Israel, and an equitable sharing of resources with all states in the region. We support the building of an economic infrastructure and bridges between people in order to avoid conflict that results from building a wall between them. Furthermore, a US policy based on peace and justice would be supportive of the free flow of information that would maintain balance to the community's collective judgment, whereby political decisions will be transparent and accountable.

Of particular importance is the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 that "calls on all actors involved in negotiating and implementing peace agreements to adopt a gender perspective that includes the special needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction." During the process of actively negotiating peace throughout the Middle East, women's equal participation in decision-making is essential. Recognizing that the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom developed from the independent thinkers of the women's suffrage movement and that peace is inextricably linked to equality between men and women, maintaining and promoting peace and security requires women's independent perspective.

At the core of the unresolved conflict in the Middle East is the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. A foundation for peace can be built on the self-determination of populations and development of their own democratic and economic processes. To address the injustice to the Palestinians also addresses the injustice to the Israeli people who suffer through the increased militarization, and in both cases the ongoing conflicts in the region are having a devastating effect on women and children. Democracy requires acknowledging the internal struggle of people to be free from tyrannical governments.

Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, we have been challenging the US policy objective of securing hegemony over the resources and power in the Middle East region. U.S. support for Israeli and US expansionism has deepened the divide between the peoples. What is seen as the U.S. refusal to be an "honest broker" in negotiations has led to anger against this nation, helped fuel the 9/11 tragedy, and resulted in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is a situation where there is no winner. The only nation that can stop this destructive cycle is the United States, by changing its policy.

This is why we are taking on the challenge. We hope that all WILPF members will work with us on our three year campaign and actively be at the peace table to make peace a reality in the Middle East and in the world.

WCUSP Leadership Team

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