More than 200 women and several men took part in a rally on the Israeli side of the Israel-Lebanon border on Tuesday. The rally was organized by Women Wage Peace, a social movement working "to bring about a viable peace agreement," as their Facebook page states. The group has already organized peace rallies and marches throughout the country.
Tuesday's rally was located outside the now closed Good Fence, through which Lebanese Maronites would regularly pass into Israel for work and medical care until Israel withdrew from Southern Lebanon in 2000. Israel absorbed some 15,000 Maronites, who were predicted to have been massacred by Hezbollah on charges of collaboration with Israel were they to have stayed in Lebanon.
The Good Fence protest rally was attendedby , among others, Liberian Leymah Gbowee, whose work of non-violent persistence on women's rights won her the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
Gbowee said she is moved to be standing in a place called "good," instead of having it described in a negative fashion. She mentioned that Liberia has a large Lebanese community of its own, and that she will happily return to her country and tell people about the Israeli women's initiative.
She was greeted with enthusiastic applause at the rally. "It is my actual first time hearing about the Good Fence," she said at the rally. "You always hear about the negative things coming out of countries that have gone through war, so I am happy to be at a place called 'good,' especially in a world where people want to talk more negative than talk positive."
She continued by saying, "Just being here and going back to my country, I will highlight the fact that it is not just a desire of the people of Lebanon, but also a desire of women and people of Israel that peace should be established in the region."
She added that Liberians, too, had fought for peace, and that while it was not easy, no children should die on either side of the border due to war.
The IDF, Israel Police and UN provided security for the event, while Lebanese Police forces could be seen on the Lebanese side of the border. The rally's organizers said that a month ago, while going on a preparatory tour of the area, that they saw women from the Lebanese side waving at them.
After the rally, the women marched toward the northern town of Metula, raising signs that featured then prime minister Mencahem Begin, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and US president Jimmy Carter sign the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in 1979, with the words "Yes. It's possible" written above.
The organization is due to carry out another protest in front of the Prime Minister's House in Jerusalem on Wednesday.