March of Hope gathers 20,000 in historic Jerusalem rally


An article by Fatima for Alliance for Middle East Peace

An estimated 20,000 women and men marched in Jerusalem for the final rally of the Women Wage Peace March of Hope on October 19th. That morning, almost 4,000 Israeli and Palestinian women met near Jericho to begin the journey. Those who were able continued on to Jerusalem, where the March of Hope culminated in a historic rally outside the Prime Minister’s Residence, demanding a political solution to the conflict.

Thousands of women marching to Qasr al-Yahud on the border between Isral and Jordan (Photo: Women Wage Peace)
(click on photo to enlarge)

This is all thanks to the hard work of the amazing activists at our member organization Women Wage Peace, including ALLMEP’s regional director Huda Abuarquob. Huda played an integral role in organizing this march and ensuring its success on both sides.

At the final rally, Huda gave an electrifying speech which was reported in Ha’aretz:

“Huda Abu Arqoub, a political activist from Hebron, won rousing applause when she said, in English, that she was there as a free woman, and that the time had come for women to speak their piece and to work for peace, security for everyone and mutual recognition. She ended her speech by declaring that there is a partner for peace.”

[additional notes from other news sources]

Among the participants in the final rally were Hadassah Froman, the widow of Rabbi Menachem Froman, and her daughter-in-law Michal Froman, who was wounded in a stabbing attack in 2015, Leymah Gbowee, one of three Liberian women to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, and Singer Yael Deckelbaum, who performed at the rally.

Ynet News quoted Hadassah Forman as saying: “There is a lot of energy which will lead us on a new path—maybe even to change. I hope that it will be possible to see the connections and to see what can be done to create a solution.” And they quoted Michal as saying: “I believe that the peace we want will happen, and that it will come after we see what is possible and what is definitely not possible. Even the right-wing will work with us towards peace,” she said.

According to Jews for Justice for Palestinians Leymah Gbowee said that the two days she spent marching with Israeli and Palestinian women were days of hope and of looking toward the future, and they had convinced her that peace was possible. And the singer Yael Deckelbaum spoke about the women’s prayer service she had attended Wednesday morning at Qasr al-Yahud, near Jericho. “We were 4,000 women, half of them Palestinians,” she said. “They told me there was nobody to make peace with. Today, we proved that wrong.”

Questions related to this article:

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

How effective are mass protest marches?

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