“We’re not stopping until there’s an agreement.”
That is the rallying cry of thousands of Israeli women who are set to begin on Tuesday a two-week-long march advocating for a peace agreement between Israel and Palestinians. Those taking part in the “March of Hope” include luminaries from Israeli politics and culture alongside Palestinian and Jordanian women, as well as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee, who appeared onstage last October at the Women in the World London Summit. Several marches will take place all around Israel over the next two weeks and the concerted effort will culminate on October 19 with a large rally outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu’s residence in Jerusalem.
The marches and rally are being staged by Women Wage Peace, a nonpartisan group founded following the deadly Israel-Gaza conflict that erupted in the summer of 2014. Members include Jewish and Arab women from all walks of life. Acting on the core belief “that women must take responsibility for the future of their children and that the equal representation of women in peace-making and reconciliation, as mandated by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 and Israeli law, greatly increases the chances for lasting peace,” Women Wage Peace has been centrally focused on advocating for a lasting peace accord between Israelis and Palestinians — a prospect that has produced many talks between the sides, but has proved elusive. “A new and different reality in the Middle East is feasible, and we must strive for it,” the group declares on its website.
One inspiring aspect of the effort is the group’s Piece for Peace quilt activism that was launched back in July. Small pieces of cloth with words of peace and hope written on them are being created and eventually each patch will be stitched together to create the world’s largest quilt. Once complete, the enormous blanket will be spread between Jerusalem and Ramallah, a distance of about 13 miles by car. The march kicks off at the end of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. For more about it and to learn how to get involved, click here. Below, watch a video on the huge march in which women who are taking part in the walk explain what they’re doing and what drew them to the event.