Israeli women have vowed to fast for 50 days as a call for recommencement of peace negotiations with the Palestinians, camping along Gaza Road, near the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home.
The 50-day fast was organised by Women Wage Peace, and is symbolic of last summer’s 50-day war with Hamas. Fasting under the summer heat, women across Israel aim to persuade Netanyahu to continue peace talks with Palestinians, according to The Times Israel.
The women fast with 50-hour intervals, and began on July 8, intended to last up until Aug. 26, which is the same day when Operation Protective Edge ended in 2014.
From July 7 till Aug. 26, 2014, Israel launched what is known as “Operation Protective Edge” that lasted over 50 days, in the Gaza Strip and killed more than 2,100 people, mostly women and children and injured more than 11,000 others. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed.
17,200 Gazan homes, 73 mosques and 24 schools were completely destroyed, while thousands of other buildings were partially damaged and at least 100,000 Gazans lost their homes.
Fifty Gazan families were entirely wiped out, according to human rights statistics.
“The fast is a form of meditation. It is also a way to think about the past in the hope of improving our future,” said one of the women to the Times of Israel newspaper.
“As mothers, we say, ‘It’s enough.’ We need to speak up because we are worried about future generations, and we don’t have the privilege of giving up.”
The group says its main focus is to get “politicians and opinion makers to work vigilantly towards achieving a political agreement” and “to give women leadership roles in planning, decision making and negotiation process centers, in order to reach an agreement.”
Last year’s peace talks ended in April, after nine months of attempted negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli officials, brokered by US Secretary of State, John Kerry. Violence between the two communities erupted shortly after.
A member of the group, Lilian Weisberger, who is also fasting for peace, said “We are demanding that leaders end the bloodshed in the region.”
“One of my sons participated in the Gaza war, and that was a horrible time for me. I was feeling a lot of despair and fear,” she added.