Saudi Arabia: Women launch petition calling on world leaders to stop the war on Lebanon Print E-mail

 "the wars that have been ignited in the Arab region and whose first victims have been women and children, are the principal reasons for the feelings of insecurity and instability in this part of the world"

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Pakistan -- Monday, July 24, 2006, Jamadi-us-sani 27, 1427 A.H.

Saudi women launch signature drive to help stop Lebanon war

JEDDAH: Saudi women have launched a signature campaign to prepare a petition calling on the world leaders to stop the war in Lebanon.

An e-mail sent to women requesting that they sign the petition said, “Lebanese civilians have been under constant attack by Israel for several days. The State of Israel, disregarding international law, has laid maritime and air siege targeting the entire population of the country. Innocent civilians are being collectively punished in Lebanon by the state of Israel in deliberate acts of terrorism as mentioned in Article 33 of the Geneva Convention.

We believe that violence does not produce except violence and will not help the region whose instability will affect the entire world.” So far nearly 400 signatures have been collected and the target is to have 1,000 from the kingdom alone. The last day to sign the petition is on Wednesday. Organisers are contacting women in different GCC countries as well as the Arab world.

“A number of Saudi women who hail from different parts of the kingdom have come together to call upon world leaders and decision makers to stop the war in Lebanon and Palestine as well as to pressure Israel to cease interfering in those two countries and to give people back their rights,” Sameera Bitar, founder and president of Saudi Business and Professional Women’s Association (SBPWA), told Khaleej Times yesterday.

She explained that the decision was taken during the founders’ meeting of the Association (under establishment) held recently. “The petition will go to the Human Rights Watch, the United Nations Security Council, anyone advocating tolerance and who can make a difference,” Samar Fatani, a veteran journalist, said.

Fatani added that it has nothing to do with politics or politicians. “If the politicians want to have their own agenda and selfish games, they should not victimise the civilians. There should be an international law to stop this kind of atrocities,” she stressed.

According to Fatani, the United States should follow a more conscientious and more humane policy - “humanise the brutal politics.” Besides Bitar and Fatani, some others who attended the meeting included Ghada A. Ghazzawi, Dr Nadia Baeshen, Fatin Boundagji, Naila Attar and Manal Alsharif.

“We all agreed that what is happening in Lebanon reflects the Israelis’ savageness under the world permission. We as Muslim Saudi women decided to speak out on behalf of the mothers and children and Middle Eastern women to call on the world leaders to stop this unequal war which is taking the lives of innocent people,” Bitar said.

“We are calling out with the voice of bereaved mothers; mothers who have lost their children in the beastly Israeli attack on Lebanon and Palestine. A war so wide-ranging that it has caught women, children and the countries’ infrastructure in its net and deprived them of the basic necessities of life in a country already riddled with scars of decades-long war,” she added.

“The petition expresses the pain that we feel and seeks redressal,” she said. “We are planning to support the donation drive that the Saudi government is going to start on next Wednesday, and we are also planning to work out a strategy to help women who have lost their children or husband,” Bitar said. She stressed that Arab women are a peace-loving people trying to bring up children who will assist in the creation of and not in the destruction of humanity.

“Therefore, and in the name of all women, mothers, wives and sisters we demand that world leaders and decision makers as well as the United Nations, the Security Council and human rights organisations act now to stop the war that Israel is waging against the Lebanese and Palestinian people and to hold Israel accountable for its breaches of international law in its daily acts of state terrorism under the eyes of the world,” she said.

Bitar said that the wars that have been ignited in the Arab region and whose first victims have been women and children, are the principal reasons for the feelings of insecurity and instability in this part of the world as well as the sense that “we are deprived of the right to a peaceful existence that many around the world enjoy.”