The dearth of women in decision-making positions means that perspectives from 50 percent of the population are largely missing. And it’s not just any 50 percent—it’s the 50 percent who, as a result of their powerlessness, silencing, marginalization, and objectification in times of war, have life experiences that would add tremendous value to the conversation. Not only do women suffer from war, but they are often left to pick up the pieces resulting from violent choices made by men.
Moreover, the exclusion of women means that the same value system that sidelines female citizens—a value system that accepts social hierarchies as a given, that holds that some members of society are more worthy than others, that views biology as an unstated component of one’s intelligence, that ignores the voices of those who have not proven themselves on the battlefield—is the same one that conceives of Israel’s policy toward Gazans. If Israeli men have trouble seeing Israeli women as more than pin-up girls for soldiers, how will all-male teams of decision-makers view the women of Gaza? If Israeli leaders don’t view Israeli women as equal partners, how will they view non-Israeli women—and men?
The Action Plan is not just about bringing women into the decision-making fold, but also about broadening perspectives on conflict and redefining the very concept of “security.” Security, according to the document, encompasses:
protection from violence in public and private spaces; termination of the ongoing state of warfare; protection and advancement of political, civil, and economic rights; freedom from religious coercion; freedom from oppression born of denial of personal and collective rights; freedom from violence, which results in death and destruction among innocent people; and equal opportunities for women from all parts of society in the economy, education, employment, health, and housing. Moreover, the Action Plan is based on a definition of security which includes a peaceful resolution of the conflict, the establishment of agreed-upon national borders, withdrawal from occupied territories, prevention of future violent conflict, and the establishment of stable and enduring peace.
“Resolution 1325 is about protection in times of armed conflict, but it is also about prevention and participation,” said Chazan, the former Knesset member, who hails from the left-wing Meretz party, in an interview. “In terms of protection, we need to remember that this war really first and foremost affects civilians. A large number of casualties in Gaza are women and children, and a large number of Israelis traumatized by falling rockets are women and children. So the first issue is about protecting women’s lives.”
Still, Chazan added, “Human security is not just security from military attacks. It’s physical, economic, and social security. It’s security to speak your mind even when you’re a minority opinion. It means that you wake up in the morning and you have something to put on the table for your kids. It means you can walk the streets at night without being afraid of being attacked. It means tolerance for the other. It also means security against attacks. But the goal of security against attacks means creating a climate for human security under the broadest terms.”