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      Labor MK Wants Women in Peace Talks

      Labor MK Einat Wilf pushes for more female involvement in peace talks, cites UN resolution.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 10/31/2010, 10:54 PM / Last Update: 11/1/2010, 1:20 AM

      Israel news photo

      Labor MK Einat Wilf is pushing for more female involvement in possible negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Committee on the Status of Women plan to meet to discuss the issue.

      The meeting was planned to coincide with the tenth anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325, which calls to include women in peace talks around the world.

      The organization most closely associated with Resolution 1325 is the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), a 95 year old pacifist group with radical views on Israel. In its 2010 “Statement on Palestine,” WILPF's Middle East Committee blamed the Cast Lead counter-terror operation and the IDF closure of Gaza for terrible health problems: “Because of the war and the siege, Gaza has suffered health epidemics, including greatly increased birth defects and leukemia,” it says. There is no reference to a study or any other source that backs up these claims.

      Wilf did not mention WILPF, but said: “The important thing is to see how resolution 1325 has been implemented, beyond declarations,” Wilf said. She said the issue is particularly important “due to the possibility of opening direct negotiations with the Palestinians.”

      Wilf declared that she believes female representatives in negotiations could have a positive impact. “Beyond the obligation to uphold the law, the inclusion of women in decision-making during negotiations will enrich the Israeli position with a perspective that is not always included in public discourse,” she stated.

      The push to include women in talks has continued despite the cessation of talks several weeks ago. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has refused to speak to Israel unless Israel agrees to freeze all construction for Jews east of the 1949 armistice line – including in Jerusalem, Israel's capital city.

      In July, feminist activists pushed to include a woman on the Turkel Commission, which is tasked with investigating a clash between Israeli soldiers and Turkish terrorists off the coast of Gaza. While activists said a woman should be appointed “to give voice to the necessary gender perspective,” many of those involved hold radical left-wing views, and emails traded within the group suggested that they were hoping to see the commission include a woman with extreme-left political leanings.