Israel Palestine Conflict

Israeli, Palestinian women unite in joint rally for peace

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Hundreds of Palestinian and Israeli women rallied in Jerusalem and the Dead Sea in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, calling for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We want peace,” chanted the demonstrators, many dressed in white and holding placards that read “Stop killing our children.”

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“Our message is that we want our kids to be alive rather than dead,” Huda Abu Arqoub, a Palestinian activist and director of the Alliance for Middle East Peace NGO, told AFP as participants initially rallied in Jerusalem.

“This is the first time that we have a real partnership between Israeli and Palestinian women on an equal level.”

The protesters later headed to the Dead Sea in the West Bank where they were joined by more demonstrators, an AFP correspondent reported.

The Alliance for Middle East Peace represents two women-led associations -- Women Wage Peace and Women of the Sun -- that organised Wednesday’s rally.

“I feel very happy to be here and to feel that we, the Palestinian women, are not alone and there are many women who want to end the killings,” said Yasmeen Soud, a Palestinian from Bethlehem at the demonstration in Jerusalem.

Pascale Chen, a coordinator from Women Wage Peace, said they wanted the conflict to brought to an end through talks.

“The objective is to issue a joint call from mothers, Israeli and Palestinian, to our two leaderships asking them to return to the negotiating table to finally arrive at a diplomatic accord,” Chen said.

Persistent violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has escalated since last year, and an unwillingness to return to the negotiating table has made peace appear more elusive than ever.

At least 243 Palestinians and 32 Israelis have been killed in the conflict so far this year.

Participants said many Palestinian women were unable to obtain authorisations for entering Jerusalem from the West Bank to attend Wednesday’s demonstration.

“Even today we had difficulties at the checkpoint to come here,” said Rim Hajajri, president of Women of the Sun.

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