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United Women in Faith Condemns Devastating Impact of War on Women and Children and Urges for Ceasefire and Women’s Voices and Perspectives be Included in Peace Negotiations 

For Immediate Release

Contact: press@spotlightpr.org

NEW YORK – United Women in Faith joins fellow United Methodists, ecumenical partners, women’s organizations, and voices from across the world in decrying the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. War takes a disproportionate toll on women, children, and youth. We urge all parties to agree to a permanent ceasefire, abide by international norms, and include women, women’s organizations, and gender perspectives in peace negotiations. We also encourage all parties to prioritize the safety and well-being of women, children, and youth.

Gaza is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. It is imperative that President Joe Biden and the U.S. Congress refrain from providing U.S. funding for the siege on Gaza and demand a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution that promotes just and lasting peace.

As the largest denominational organization for women, United Women in Faith anchors its beliefs on The UMC Social Principles, which state, “As disciples of Christ, we are called to love our enemies, seek justice, and serve as reconcilers of conflict. We insist that the first moral duty of all nations is to work together to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them. … We believe that human values must outweigh military claims as governments determine their priorities.”

United Women in Faith condemns the violent attacks of Hamas on October 7 that caused the loss of 1,200 Israelis and other nationals and the kidnapping of more than 200 hostages. We also condemn the Israeli government’s cutting off of water, gas, electricity, goods, and supplies to Gaza. We denounce the Israeli government’s large-scale air bombardment and ground invasion of hospitals, homes, schools, mosques, and houses of worship.

These actions place women and girls at greater risk for gender-based violence, unwanted pregnancies, and infections and disrupt access to essential resources like food, water, medicine, social services, and medical care. We must not lose sight of the physical, psychological, and spiritual impact war and instability has on women, children, and youth.

Women and children bear the brunt of the Israeli government’s actions. As of December 5, of the 16,200 Palestinians killed since October 7, 12,000 have been women and children, and 951,490 women and girls have been displaced, per UN Women. Fifty thousand women in Gaza are pregnant, with over 180 giving birth each day, and many are unable to receive care or access medical resources for emergency C-sections or clean water for mixing infant formula.

More than 2.2 million Palestinians live in Gaza, 1.93 million of whom have been forced to flee. Palestinians are experiencing extraordinary levels of internal displacement while extremist voices in Israeli politics call for expansion of illegal settlements into Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, with some calling to push the Palestinian population out of Gaza altogether. Already, several Palestinian villages on the West Bank have been harassed and threatened, forcing their residents to flee. Such unethical proposals and actions are a clear violation of international law, prompting justified fears of ethnic cleansing, genocide and another Nakba. We cannot look away from this grave crisis.

We also condemn anti-Palestinian, antisemitic and anti-Muslim rhetoric and the resulting rise in hate crimes targeting Palestinian, Jewish and Muslim individuals, families and communities in the United States and across the globe.

As women of faith committed to peace with justice, we are inspired by the work of Palestinian, Arab Israeli, and Jewish Israeli women who advocate for solutions that minimize bloodshed and provide a path forward. We unite our voices with Palestinian and Israeli women who have long recognized that achieving long-term peace in the region will require a negotiated political solution. The status quo of continued occupation, denial of self-determination, and intermittent war will not lead to just and lasting peace, freedom and security for both peoples. We also join with Israeli voices who call for the repudiation of extremist language and for the Israeli government to demonstrate that it will not pursue a genocidal program against Palestinians.

Unfortunately, women’s voices are rarely amplified during war. And yet, as women of faith, we know that women are not just victims but also powerful actors, generating creative and fruitful political solutions. All negotiations must include women’s voice and concerns, including complying with the global framework laid out in Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. We continue the spirit of our foremothers and the widow confronting the unjust judge urging justice in Luke 18.

United Women in Faith urges the Biden Administration and Congress to support:

  • An immediate permanent ceasefire.
  • Abidance of international humanitarian laws and release of all civilian hostages.
  • Lifting the 16-year blockade on Gaza that has subjected 2.2 million Palestinians to collective punishment.
  • Full, unhindered humanitarian access and delivery to all parts of Gaza.
  • An end to providing U.S. arms to Israel and an overall arms embargo on the whole region.
  • The inclusion of women, women’s organizations, and gender perspectives in peace negotiation and future resolution, complying with the global framework laid out in Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

We encourage our members and the broader public to join us in prayer and action:

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