WILPF Advocacy Documents

Israel, Palestine

WILPF’s Position on Israeli ‘Operation Protective Edge’ and other Escalating Violence Against the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Human Rights
13 July 2014
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WILPF International calls for renewed and wider efforts, in particular the complete inclusion of women in decision-making, to achieve the immediate cessation of lethal attacks from Israel into the occupied territory of Gaza and of rocket fire from occupied Gaza into the State of Israel.

WILPF stands in sympathy with the mothers and fathers of recently murdered Israeli and Palestinian teenagers whose deaths appear to have been deliberately used as an excuse to escalate the current violence.

We echo WILPF-US’s words urging Israel to be held accountable for its human rights violation with the aid of the United States . We call on women and men in peace movements around the world to stand in solidarity against this latest failure of male-led diplomatic efforts to peacefully conclude the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Reports from the occupied Palestinian territory detail the effects on civilians of unceasing Israeli airstrikes against Gaza overnight, which have so far resulted in the deaths of 100 children, women and men and the injury of hundreds more in the besieged enclave.

We note with alarm that Gaza has been without the medical and human resources necessary to deal with any large-scale emergency since the Israeli siege began in 2007. Nonetheless of this incapacity, Gaza been subjected to several large-scale military attacks in that time. Civilian medical personnel and institutions are by no means prepared to deal with this latest prolonged military assault, a fact that is well known to the Government of Israel.

Noting the significant number of infants and elderly among the dead named by Palestinian human rights agencies, WILPF recalls that a major cause of death and permanent disability in Israel’s Operation Cast Lead (2008/09) was that civilians with limited mobility were simply unable to get to safer places in the face of Israel’s high-level military assault.

We also note with concern the ongoing, slow violence of this conflict: the price paid by civilians, the majority of whom are children, who fall victim to un-cleared unexploded ordnance and other military material that continues to claim lives in between escalations in attacks and the social and psychological impacts of the destruction of civilian houses by Israeli military violence as an intentional act of retribution for political action, which brings untold misery to Palestinians even as unrestrained illegal building continues by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

In light of this history of the unrelenting impacts of military violence on unarmed civilians, coupled with unfolding facts on the ground in the past twenty-four hours, it is impossible to give credence to statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel is not deliberately targeting Palestinian civilians. His claims that his military can accurately mark only those believed to be directly engaged in action against the State of Israel is neither accurate nor credible, given decades of evidence that civilians in the overcrowded territory are the invariable ‘collateral damage’ of any military strike. His words renew doubt that the elected leader of the Occupying Power takes seriously any of his obligations under the Geneva Conventions to protect unarmed civilians, especially the most vulnerable.

In addition to calling for the full observation of international humanitarian law, WILPF reminds the State of Israel, as a full signatory of CEDAW and a member of the United Nations, of its obligations to protect civilian women and their children, and to meaningfully include women in decision-making on all aspects of national peace and security as laid out in United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent related resolutions.

The mothers and fathers of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, the teenage Israeli settlers murdered near Hebron, and the mother and father of Mohamed Abu Khdeir, the 16 year-old Palestinian in occupied east Jerusalem who was burnt alive in revenge by Jewish terrorists, have joined other victims’ families to call for an end to further bloodshed.

WILPF joins all women and men who call for an end to cycles of retribution and the endless aggression it fuels. In the face of male leaders’ ongoing threats, incendiary language and actual use of military force in areas known to house millions of civilians, we call on the United Nations to urgently call for an end to hostilities and remind the Secretary General of his repeated promises to ensure that women’s visions for peace and security are listened to and acted on respectfully and with equal seriousness to the solutions suggested by men.

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Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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