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Gun Free Kitchen Tables: Feminist action against mass civilian armament in Jewish and Palestinian communities in Israel

13 March 2019

Speaker: Rela Mazali, writer, independent scholar and feminist anti-militarist. Israel

In August 2018, Israel’s Minister of Public Security announced a radical reform in gun licensing policy. Reversing over two decades in which civilian licenses were issued with relative caution, he effectively put in place a policy of mass civilian armament. Thousands of gun bearing civilians in the civil sphere, he claimed, would hugely increase protection from terrorist attacks against random civilians. In response, the sole small arms disarmament and gun control initiative in Israel’s civil society, Gun Free Kitchen Tables (GFKT) was established. GFKT activists attended and addressed meetings of parliamentary committees; spoke at protests all over the country. GFKT stressed that such an armament process would further escalate the already lethal flood of unregistered firearms and rampant gun violence concentrated in the towns and cities of Israel’s Palestinian citizens would. More gun violence throughout Israel, we emphasized, would disproportionately impact women at large and Palestinian women in particular. Advocating the move as government divestment from accountability, GFKT filed a petition to the High Court of Justice to overturn the minister’s new policy. On the backdrop of these events the seminar outlined the young, still emerging, feminist, Palestinian and Jewish gun control movement in Israel.