GAPS calls for an immediate and full ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and Occupied Palestinian Territories, which have been subjected to Israel’s violent occupation since the forced expulsion of Palestinians in 1948. GAPS stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people who are resisting Israel’s settler colonial regime whilst being abandoned by the international community whose muted calls for a humanitarian pause are not enough. Over 8,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli military action, echoing the events of past genocides, and it is our responsibility as activists and human rights defenders to call out the international community for its failure to prevent these atrocities.
This month was the UN Security Council’s Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security. The Women, Peace and Security agenda was created to respond to the disproportionate and specific impact of violence upon women and girls and promote women’s equal and meaningful participation in peace processes. Yet, the same members of the Security Council that express support for this agenda are complicit in such violence in Palestine, demonstrating the insufficient impact of the WPS agenda.
In 2018, our partners from Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling addressed the UNSC at the open debate on the gendered impact of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, pointing specifically to the disproportionate effects on women and girls living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, such as economic deprivation and high levels of unemployment, and the subsequent reinforcement of patriarchal structures in Palestinian society. Five years later, this statement remains just as applicable as the Security Council has failed its mandate to respond adequately to secure peace and security in the face of the current killings of Palestinian civilians in Gaza by Israeli military but also attacks in the West Bank. Member states who have expressed their support for women’s rights and promoting non-violence continue to provide political support to Israel and trade billions of dollars worth of arms used to commit human rights violations and maintain the illegal occupation of Palestine. The Security General’s 2022 Women, Peace and Security report draws attention to the relationship between sales of arms and heightened vulnerabilities of women and girls to gender-based violence, urging States to conduct an assessment of the gendered impacts before authorising the export of arms- a call which has been evidently ignored by member states. This hypocrisy was encapsulated by the delay of the afternoon session of the Open Debate for two draft resolutions to be voted on — whether to implement a ‘humanitarian pause’, as described in the US resolution, or a ‘ceasefire’, as described by Russia, whose support for Palestine is wholly undermined by its continual occupation of Ukraine. Both resolutions were denied. For the Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security to be delayed for this horrifying disregard of Palestinian women’s and human rights, the failings of the Security Council are as explicit as ever.
At GAPS we are unapologetically vocal and challenge those who remain silent — this silence means complicity to the crimes against humanity committed against Palestinians. GAPS urges friends, colleagues to use their voices to advocate for an immediate and full ceasefire, as per our commitments as feminists, and inform our work through women’s rights and women- led organisations. If the international community continues with its current approach and fails to condemn Israel for its actions in Gaza as much as it condemns the attacks on Israeli civilians, the system of international humanitarian law will be further undermined and calls to hold others — from Putin to the Taliban — accountable, will ring hollow. GAPS’s written secretariat statement on the violence in Palestine and Israel from 10 October can be found here.
As part of our advocacy efforts, at the end of October, GAPS prepared a written evidence submission in response to the Foreign Affairs Committee’s inquiry on the UK’s engagement with the Middle East and North Africa. GAPS centred this around the violence enacted against Palestinians and the gendered harm inflicted through racialised and patriarchal norms. This submission called upon the UK government to immediately leverage its diplomatic force to halt the violence in Gaza, condemn the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank which has supported the rise of violence against Palestinians and support the work of the ICC in ensuring justice for the war crimes that have taken place. GAPS also produced a rapid gender analysis, using the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) framework for those responding to the crises, and a parliamentary briefing on the crisis which was shared with key stakeholders and parliamentarians to inform their advocacy and push for our recommendations.
Localising Women, Peace and Security: Policy and learning brief
This briefing paper outlines the links between the impacts of the women’s rights organisations’ work and the advancement of the WPS agenda. On the 23rd anniversary of the first UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on WPS, this briefing re-centres the importance of women in civil society as leaders of building and sustaining inclusive peace, and sets out recommendations for donors and international organisations seeking to more effectively implement WPS and advance gender justice.
NGO Follow-Up To The Parallel Report To The Initial Report Of The State Of Palestine Submitted To The Committee On Economic, Social And Cultural Rights
This report aims to promote economic, social, and cultural rights in the State of Palestine. It discusses the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as the challenges faced in this regard. The report also highlights the efforts of Palestinian Non-Governmental Organisations in combating violence against women and promoting gender equality.
‘This is the Thought Police’ -The Prevent duty and its chilling effect on human rights
Amnesty’s new report – This Is The Thought Police: The Prevent duty and its chilling effect on human rights – illustrates that Prevent is a dangerously broken system. As a ‘pre-crime intervention,’ it is supposed to protect us by identifying people at risk of radicalisation into terrorism and stopping them before they do. But in reality, the vast majority of people reported under Prevent do not present any threat and the referrals require no further action.
In case you missed it
Craig Mokhiber has resigned from his position as the director of the New York office of the UN high commissioner for human rights, protesting that the UN has failed to uphold its duty to protect the Palestinian people. Mokhiber issued this poignant resignation letter on October 28, calling out the US, UK and much of Europe for failing to meet their obligations under the Geneva Convention and, ultimately, facilitating Israel’s illegal assault on Gaza through arms deals. He describes the UN to have served as a vehicle for the US and Israel as a ‘genocide (is) unfolding before our eyes and the organisation we serve appears powerless to stop it’.
WILPF issued a statement, found here, on the hypocrisy witnessed at the Security Council with regards to the violence enacted against Gaza and the wider occupied Palestinian territories. The statement responds to the failings of both proposed resolutions on a ‘humanitarian pause’ and ‘ceasefire’ in Gaza, emphasising the performative nature of the Women, Peace and Security Council which is meant to be centred on the promotion of non-violence and women’s rights, yet permits such atrocities to occur.
Our partners at Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling issued an urgent call to the Security Council on the protection of civilians. This demanded the General Secretary and Security Council member states to use the Women, Peace and Security open discussion to take measures to stop the military aggression in Gaza and called on the UNSC to pass a resolution that permits the open passage of humanitarian aid.
Management Board Openings
Deadline: Monday 4 December at 9:00 UK time
GAPS is recruiting for five new members to join our Management Board. This is a fantastic opportunity for someone to be involved in the governance and future direction of our dynamic network, including approving the GAPS Strategy, making key financial and human resource decisions and agreeing on main policy positions. To bring our Board to quorum and align with our new Terms of Reference, we are looking for two new members from GAPS Member organisations and three new members external to the network.
Management Board members should be diverse, represent GAPS’s membership and be derived from the different categories of GAPS members: women’s rights organisations; multi-mandates; human rights organisations; and peacebuilding organisations.
Interested representatives should apply to join the Management Board by emailing email@example.com by 4th December with their: name; job title; organisation; and summary of what they will bring to the GAPS Management Board (approx. 350-400 words). Please use the subject heading “GAPS Management Board application”.
Full job listing can be found here.
United Nations Association – UK
Head of Campaigns, (London). Rolling basis
Programme Development Manager- Maternity Cover (Based in countries where Saferworld has a presence). Rolling basis
Global Support Officer, (London). Apply by 15 November
Campaigns and Activism Officer, (London). Apply by 19 November
Philanthropy Officer, (London). Apply by 19 November