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Latest info > News > Jessica Nevo (Bat Shalom) explained that Israel’s security wall is a serious drawback to women's issues

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30 / 07 / 2004
Jessica Nevo (Bat Shalom) explained that Israel’s security wall is a serious drawback to women's issues

The session “Women Weaving Peace” examined the Israeli-Palestine conflict from the standpoint of Bat Shalom, an organization that fights for women's rights

More information about Living and Living Together. Women's World Forum

Jessica Nevo, member of Bat Shalom spoke of her organization’s work in Western Jerusalem, "which symbolizes the union and the division of the Israeli and Palestinian people.” Nevo explained how Bat Shalom co-operates with another organization in Eastern Jerusalem, which has experienced difficulties due to the construction of the wall. Bat Shalom, said Nevo, is an organization created in the wake of the second Intifada three years ago, which aims to build bridges of dialogue between the two communities.

Nevo has spoken of the emergency strategy that has been put into effect by the organization given that "the wall is creating a reality of Apartheid". Nevo believes that the construction of the wall affects men and women alike, although "it mainly affects the patriarchal families depending solely on the income of the husbands". In addition, Nevo explained that the wall does not allow young people to study and work and therefore "the marrying age is falling all the time and is resulting in less freedom for women", adding that the wall makes it difficult for women to access health centers and safe-houses in the event of them being abused. "The wall is destroying social fabric and the basic elements of solidarity and cooperation between towns and families", she commented.

Nevo spoke of the organization and how it is trying to look for alternatives to penal justice since this "scenario does not offer options to victims". As a result, from Bat Shalom "we are trying to create alternatives to provide treatment and reconciliation after conflicts, which in this case is a continuous process". In this sense she pointed out that progress is being made because "cracks in the official history of Israel are evident". Nevo talked about the fact that "young people between 16 and 17 years of age have decided not to join the army, and by doing so are challenging the idea of what it means to be a hero in Israeli society. In spite of undergoing military court-martials and being boycotted, there are many young people who have changed their way of thinking", she added.

Nevo went on to explain other projects that the organization sponsors, such as the Commission for the Truth and the reconciliation process that has taken its lead from Argentina and South Africa, in which the exchange of experiences is between victims and torturers. "Even though in many cases these processes are criticized, in South Africa it has resulted in 7,000 torturers explaining their experiences and asking for forgiveness". In addition, Nevo also talked about the project Let Us Remember A Different History intended as a testimony to all those Palestinian women who lived through the independence process in Israel in 1948, as well as the aid that is offered to Palestinians at check points.

Jessica Nevo explained that her critical vision of this conflict is the result of "having emigrated from Argentina to Israel and therefore through my situation as an outsider in this country, which has not been influenced by the official and dominant version of history". "My critical position comes from a long and painful process of becoming aware, of being aware of what is not openly seen, of the history that I did not know, the history of Palestine". From her Jewish background, Nevo explained, "if there is no narrative of reconciliation, the different initiatives for peace will not succeed. A reconciliation with the past is what we need, a recognition of the crimes and injustices".

In addition to her immigration to Israel, her critical stance on history is also "the result of the military dictatorship that my country suffered: the control of the media, the terror and threats have made me more sensitive to the militarist ideology of Israeli society". In this sense, Nevo explained that in many cases "the education of the children is based on this militarist ideology and for that reason they do not see the other side of the story."