Poll: 2/3 of Israelis Want Women Involved in Peace Talks

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem on September 15, 2010. Credit: Reuters

Two-thirds of the Israeli public thinks women should be included in the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, a recent survey shows.

Some 75% of women and 59% of men in Israel say that including women will contribute to the peace process.

Among the Arabs surveyed, 82% said that women experts in various fields could contribute to the negotiations, compared with 63% of the Jews surveyed.

The survey was conducted on behalf of a project to promote the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The resolution mandates increased participation and representation of women at all levels of decision-making, especially those concerning peace and security.

The Midgam polling firm conducted the survey, which was written by Dahlia Scheindlin. Some 600 Israelis, men and women, 18 years and older, were surveyed. Of the total, 500 were Jews and 100 were Arabs.

Expressing support for including women in the peace process were 55% of the Jewish men and 71% of the Jewish women surveyed. In the Arab community, 81% of the women agreed, as did 81% of the men.

The more the subject knew about what is being done worldwide to promote women’s participation in negotiations and the influence of such efforts on reducing violence, the greater the support for involving women in such negotiations.

Of those who described themselves as left wing, 78% of the men and more than 90% of the women surveyed supported including women in the peace process. Some 37% of those asked said that if any party were to call to include a large number of women in the peace process, this would increase their chance of voting for that party.

“There is no doubt there is deep disappointment about the management of the negotiations in recent years,” said Prof. Naomi Chazan, dean of the School of Government and Society at the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yafo and a member of the steering committee for the Israeli comprehensive action plan for implementing Resolution 1325. “The public is looking for new ways to reach an agreement and places its hopes on female leadership.”

Resolution 1325 was passed in October 2000, with the understanding that including women and a gender perspective at the center of decision-making processes — especially concerning peace and security — could help resolve violent conflicts, protect women and girls against violence and prevent future conflicts.

Since the resolution was passed, dozens of governments around the globe, including the U.S., have acted in the spirit of the resolution and prepared plans to implement the goals.

In Israel a law passed in 2005 required the appointment of women from a broad range of societal sectors to every group formulating national policy, including matters of defense and foreign relations and the peace process. Nonetheless, no Israeli government has ever committed itself to full implementation of the Security Council resolution.

The Israeli coalition for implementing the resolution includes the women’s organizations Itach — Women Lawyers for Social Justice; WIPS – Center for the Advancement of Women In the Public Sphere; and Agenda — Hashderah-Uru. The coalition has formulated an action plan similar to those accepted in other countries.

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