Dismantle the Structure of Violence
Bat Shalom - 25 December, 2001

As 2001, the first year of the Sharon national unity government, draws to a shuddering end, hundreds of thousands of Israeli and Palestinian women are living in fear and are battling despair.  We are living in a region that has erupted in unprecedented violence and destruction.

The Israeli political establishment has been pushing the view that in the current situation, the fundamental causes of violence are Palestinian actions, to which Israel merely reacts.  This view not only entitles Israel to fight force with more force, but in the face of the Palestinian Authority's inability to control the violence, Israel feels entitled to continue controlling Palestinian lands, people and society.

This "cycle of violence" view falsifies the real structure of violence, a structure based on occupation and domination.  It blames the Palestinian Authority while simultaneously destroying it.  It condemns Palestinian violence as the only form of violence, as though curfews, roadblocks, assassinations and all other weapons of control did not take their toll on Palestinian life, health, well-being and security.  Isolating this moment from the whole structure of occupation condemns us all to a future of chronic violence

In the face of a National Unity government which is determined to continue the occupation at whatever costs to Israelis as well as Palestinians, it is clear that a change in policy requires a change in government. We must also begin exploring ways to build a political alternative to this National Unity government - an effective and democratic opposition.  This of course means that we must replace the structure of violence with a new structure of peace and justice.

Right now, given the unwillingness of the United States to press Israel to accept international peace monitors, we must urge the international community to pressure for official as well as informal international protection for the Palestinian people.

We are women who are unalterably opposed to both suicide bombings as well as to the violence of political assassinations.  We are women who insist that our humanity and commitment to justice not only connect us, but impel us to continue to jointly struggle to end Israel's inhumane occupation of the Palestinian people and their land.

Terry Greenblatt

Director, Bat Shalom
December 25, 2001

Bat Shalom is a feminist peace organization working toward a just peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.  Bat Shalom, together with The Jerusalem Center for Women, a Palestinian women's peace organization, comprise The Jerusalem Link.  

Visit our web site for more information and our latest activities: http://www.batshalom.org


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