The International Women’s Network Against Militarism stands firmly opposed to all war crimes and military violence. We believe a feminist vision and understanding of genuine security are urgent to achieve a world that respects all life based on principles of interdependence, collectivism, and relationship with the natural world.
Our Network—with members in Guåhan (Guam), Hawai’i, Japan, Northern Mariana Islands, Okinawa, Philippines, South Korea, and the continental United States—has focused on decades of militarization, insecurity and violence in the Asia-Pacific region. Today, we express our solidarity and offer a vision for genuine security in the face of the humanitarian crisis in Palestine and Israel. As a feminist Network, we have witnessed and documented the fact that women and girls bear the heaviest cost of militarism, military bases and operations, armed conflicts, and wars, though this is distributed unevenly based on race, ethnicity, class, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality and citizenship status, and geography.
Women and children in Palestine have borne the brunt of decades of Israeli occupation, destruction of basic infrastructure by the Israeli military, and attacks by illegal settlers. As of October 19, the Gaza Health Ministry reported that out of 3,478 people killed by that date, 70% were women, children, and elderly people.
THE CULTURE OF KILLING – FROM MILITARY POLICY TO THE MEDIA
The prevailing culture of killing includes profit-making, political and cultural domination, and control of people and the planet, without conscience, and at any cost. We recognize that, like conflicts in our homelands, the root cause of the war in Palestine is the struggle over power, control, and ownership of natural and human resources, undergirded by racism and colonization.
The state of Israel has consistently denied and subverted the security of Palestinian people through evictions and destruction of their homes; appropriation of their land, water supplies, and sources of livelihood; operation of checkpoints and surveillance to limit and control their movements; support for illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land; arbitrary use of detention and incarceration; as well as collective punishment and dehumanization. For decades, Israel has consistently violated international laws and committed war crimes with total impunity. On October 14, the UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese declared that “in the name of self defence, Israel is seeking to justify what would amount to ethnic cleansing. Any continued military operations by Israel have gone well beyond the limits of international law.”
Western governments are deeply complicit in these violations, with roots in the 1917 Balfour Declaration in which Britain promised a Jewish homeland in what was Ottoman-controlled Palestine. Over the years, a key part of United States foreign policy has been its military support for Israel, which directly profits US military contractors. Since 2016, the US has committed $38 billion in military aid to Israel, including money for the Israeli air fleet and missile defense system.
In a recent candid headline, Forbes declared: “Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman Stocks Notch Best Days In Years Amid Israel-Hamas Conflict.” Mainstream Western media have compounded the violence by disregarding this colonial and militarized history. They have applied a blatant double-standard and false equivalence that hides the massive inequality of power between the state of Israel and the scattered groupings of Palestinian people. In the mainstream media, it is assumed that Israel has the right to exist and Palestine does not. In major news outlets, Israelis are presented as human and deserving empathy while Palestinians are framed as animal-like and undeserving of compassion. Media images depict Israeli mothers as mothers of innocent victims while Palestinian mothers are depicted as mothers of terrorists.
We reject all double standards regarding human rights violations, military aggression, and violations of sovereignty. All states and state actors must be held fully accountable for such violations.
OUR CALL FOR A FEMINIST VISION OF GENUINE SECURITY AND CULTURE OF LIFE
Based on our experiences and understandings of militarism, armed conflicts, and wars, we reject the notion of “national militarized security” promoted by governments and the mainstream media.
We advocate for genuine security, focused on people and the physical environment. This requires the following:
- • A sustainable environment for all people and the planet,
- • Guaranteeing people’s basic needs,
- • People are entitled to self-determination, and should be treated with dignity, and
- • Societies must be organized to prevent avoidable harm.
We call on the international community to do the following to prevent further avoidable harm and to move towards implementation of genuine security in Palestine and Israel:
- • Call for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.
- • Help secure a humanitarian corridor to Gaza for delivering food, water, fuel, medical supplies, and other essentials for Palestinian people’s survival.
- • Call for the release of all civilian Israeli hostages to their communities.
- • Release Palestinian children, women, and men political prisoners held illegally in Israeli prisons and detention centers.
- • Help end all US and other military aid to Israel.
- • Demand accurate, fair, and balanced media coverage.
The US and Western governments must end their support of the state of Israel as its clearly stated intention is to “reshape the Middle East,” removing Palestine from Netanyahu’s map of the region.
We affirm our feminist vision of genuine security and will work together to end colonization and militarization as a path towards a culture of life, and a just and sustainable world.
We invite others to join our call.
The following organizations endorse this statement:
Guåhan and Northern Mariana Islands
Our Common Wealth 670
Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian
I Hagan Famalåo’an Guåhan
Pacific Indigenous Women’s Network
Women’s Voices, Women Speak, Honolulu
Women Making Peace
Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence
BUKLOD Women Empowerment Inc. (BUKLOD)
National League of Filipino-Amerasians Inc.
Philippine Women Network for Peace & Security (PWNPS)
Women’s Education, Development Productivity & Research Organization (WEDPRO)
Women for Genuine Security