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Israel’s plan of annexation cannot go unchallenged

Sir, – As the UN Charter marks its 75th anniversary, the most protracted conflict in the world is taking a most dangerous turn with the announcement of Israel’s plan to annex large and vital parts of Palestinian territory on the basis of the Trump Middle East plan which contradicts the internationally agreed parameters for peace and international law.

Such a move would unravel half a century of efforts for peace in the region and the vision of two sovereign states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, based on the pre-1967 borders, with far-reaching consequences.

It is in this context, and on this 20th anniversary of the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, that Israeli and Palestinian women reminded the world why it was so important to hear and heed the voices of women in situations of conflict.

We have received urgent appeals against annexation sent by both Palestinian and Israeli women.

Their strong appeals, while separate and distinct, have in common a sense of shared humanity, and a common rejection of subjugation and discrimination, oppression and violence.

Both appeals are grounded in international law and in the landmark resolution 1325 which calls for protection of civilians, notably women and girls, the critical importance of women’s voices and meaningful participation in conflict resolution and peace negotiations, in ensuring durable peace and building a just and hopeful future for both peoples based on respect for international law and accountability.

Their voices resonate as they stress that annexation is an existential threat to Palestinians, to Israelis, to regional stability and to an already fragile global order.

We must not leave their appeal unanswered as they ask for our “support and engagement in a global partnership to save the prospect for a just, equal, and lasting resolution to the conflict”, for the well-being of present and future generations.

They remind us that we have “the power of our collective will to challenge aggression, coercion, and violence and to end impunity and injustice so freedom and peace can prevail”.

Annexation is a breach of international law and the UN Charter, and of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

It contravenes the fundamental international norm banning the acquisition of territory by force and aims at perpetuating the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise, entrenching occupation instead of ending it.

It will severely jeopardise the prospect of regional peace, security and stability with grave implications for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, but also for Jordan and the wider region.

It will fragment Palestinian land and effectively consecrate Palestinian enclaves under permanent Israeli military control.

The dignity and rights of the Palestinian people, the ability of Israel to be an integral and accepted part of the region, regional peace, security and prosperity and the wider international rules-based order are at stake. Annexation cannot go unchallenged, and strong international engagement is more needed than ever, including through effective measures to deter illegal unilateral actions, and achieve just and lasting peace.

We support the Palestinian and Israeli women’s call against unilateral annexation and back their efforts to prevent its disastrous consequences. It was conceived almost entirely by men without any reference to the diverse perspectives of women. We must be guided by the humanity and resolve of courageous women who have suffered greatly from the conflict and yet refuse to be blinded by hate.

Their words envision the future the region needs and deserves.

Our actions must help this vision prevail. – Yours, etc,

MICHELINE CALMY-REY,

former president of

Switzerland;

TARJA HALONEN,

former president of Finland;

ROZA OTUNBAYEVA,

former president

of Kyrgyzstan;

MARY ROBINSON,

former UN commissioner

for human rights, former

president of Ireland;

ELLEN

JOHNSON SIRLEAF,

Nobel Peace Prize laureate,

former president of Liberia;

GRO HARLEM

BRUNDTLAND,

former director general

of the World Health

Organisation, former

prime minister of Norway;

HELEN CLARK,

former United Nations

Development Programme

administrator, former prime

minister of New Zealand;

JÓHANNA

SIGURÐARDÓTTIR,

former prime minister

of Iceland;

GRAÇA MACHEL,

co-founder of the Elders

with Nelson Mandela,

international advocate

for women’s and children’s rights, freedom fighter,

first minister of education,

Mozambique;

ISABEL SAINT

MALO DE ALVARADO,

former vice-president

of Panama;

LENA HJELM-WALLEN,

former deputy prime

minister and minister for

foreign affairs, Sweden;

MARGOT WALLSTRÖM,

former deputy prime

minister and minister for

foreign affairs, Sweden;

BENITA

FERRERO-WALDNER,

former European

commissioner for external

relations and former foreign minister, Austria;

SUSANA MALCORRA,

former minister of foreign

affairs, Argentina;

ASHA ROSE MIGIRO,

former United Nations

deputy secretary general,

former minister of foreign

affairs, Tanzania;

BARBARA HOGAN,

former political prisoner,

former minister of health,

South Africa;

PATRICIA B LICUANAN,

former chairwoman,

UN Commission on

the Status of Women,

former minister of

higher education,

Philippines;

SIMA SAMAR,

former minister of

women’s affairs,

Afghanistan;

MELANNE VERVEER,

former ambassador for

global women’s issues, US;

LUISA MORGANTINI,

former vice-president

and former chair of

the Committee on

Development of the

European Parliament,

Italy;

SHIRIN EBADI,

Nobel Peace Prize laureate;

MAIREAD MAGUIRE,

Nobel Peace Prize laureate;

JODY WILLIAMS,

Nobel Peace Prize laureate;

REBECCA JOHNSON,

Co-founding first

president of the Nobel

Peace Laureate

International Campaign

to Abolish Nuclear

Weapons (ICAN);

KAREN ABUZAYD,

former UN under-secretary general, former

commissioner general

for United Nations Relief

and Works Agency;

RADHIKA

COOMARASWAMY,

former UN under-secretary general and special

representative for children and armed conflict;

NOELEEN HEYZER,

former executive director, UN Development Fund

for Women, former UN

under-secretary general

and executive secretary of

the Economic and Social

Commission for Asia and

the Pacific;

NAVI PILLAY,

former UN high

commissioner for

human rights;

JOANNE SANDLER,

former deputy executive

director, UN Development

Fund for Women;

FATIHA SEROUR, former

deputy special

representative of the

UN secretary general,

Member of the Africa

Group for Justice

and Accountability;

FARIDA SHAHEED,

former UN special

rapporteur on

cultural rights;

MARY KERRY KENNEDY,

President of Robert

F Kennedy Human Rights

Organisation;

CHARLOTTE BUNCH,

Distinguished professor

and founding director,

Centre for Women’s Global

Leadership, Rutgers

University;

ANNE MARIE GOETZ,

former chief adviser on

governance, peace

and security for the

United Nations

Development Fund

for Women,

Professor, Centre for Global

Affairs, New York

University;

ANNE-MARIE

SLAUGHTER,

Former director of

policy planning for the

US Department of State;

NAYEREH TOHIDI,

Former chair of the

Department of Gender

& Women Studies and

founding director of

Middle Eastern and Islamic

Studies, California State

University.