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Despite Barriers, Palestinian and Israeli Midwives Join to Defend Women's Health

When MADRE Executive Director Yifat Susskind traveled to Palestine to visit with our partner group, Midwives for Peace, she conveyed your encouragement to this brave group of Palestinian and Israeli women who refuse to be enemies. Instead, this small, dedicated group is determined to work together to ensure that every woman has a safe, healthy and joyful experience of childbirth.

Yifat made a commitment from MADRE to support the efforts of the Midwives for Peace to bring together midwives and other women's health advocates from both sides of the Israel-Palestine divide.

These gatherings offer the crucial opportunity for the midwives to share their expertise and to expand access to health care for women living under Israeli military occupation. Yet, the women who participate must overcome obstacles, including the military checkpoints and unpredictable road closures that prevent Palestinians and Israelis from gathering peacefully.

Thanks to your support of MADRE, the Midwives for Peace were successful in holding a midwifery exchange on June 13! MADRE helped cover expenses for more than two dozen Palestinian and Israeli midwives – some traveling up to five hours – to meet in Beit Jala, a small town near Bethlehem in the West Bank. There, they discussed ways to improve the quality of care for pregnant women and infants. Their discussion highlighted the importance of mother-newborn bonding, breastfeeding and shared care of infants among family members. While the midwives shared technical tips and advice from their experiences, they also discussed potential cultural barriers that they might encounter during their work.

The meeting ended in good spirits, with members holding hands and reflecting on their mutual goal of safeguarding the right of every woman to a safe birth and of peace. With your ongoing support, the Midwives for Peace will meet again in September.

Photo Credit: Midwives for Peace