The Israel Policy Forum has published an article heralding the recent arrival in Washington of a delegation of security experts consisting of three Palestinian women (Amal Jadou, Enas Nazzal, and Haitham Arar) and three Israeli women (Israela Oron, Eynat Gepner-Goldstein, and Etty Yevnin).
An all-female joint delegation consisting of an Israeli general and two colonels alongside officials of the Palestinian interior ministry is unusual enough. But what made this group stand out was not gender, but the messagefrom a group of established security professionalsthat military means alone will not bring security to Israelis or Palestinians.
They maintained that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not one where victory is decided on the battlefield between uniformed soldiers, but rather it is a dispute fought within civilian communities.
Memebrs of the delegation stressed that women are “often on the first line of defenses for families and the first victims of failures in security.” In addition, they assume formal security roles.
Israeli women have always been required to serve in the military or an auxiliary service, while the first group of Palestinian police women only recently completed their training.
Greater participation of women is one fundamental aspect of making sure that security concerns are not only handled by military forces, but involve civil society as well. Just as women are more likely to admit when they need to ask for directions, former Brigadier General (ret.) Israela Oron said in a talk she gave in Cambridge, they are also more likely to say when a new approach is necessary. That approach is negotiating toward peace. And “Peace,” Oron said “is the only way to achieve security.