Gush Shalom: Israelis for Peace

By Floyd Rudmin

Gush Shalom is an Israeli peace action group, established after the Oslo Accords in response to Israels violations of those accords. It is pro-Israeli, in that it wants a long, prosperous, peaceful future for Israel, in good relations with its neighbors, including neighboring Palestine. It argues that a just peace requires Israel to bring its settlers and soldiers back inside its 1967 borders, and for Israel to pay reparations to the Palestinians for all injustices and suffering Israel has caused them. Gush Shalom is an extra-parliamentary organization, independent of any party .

Aims

The primary aim of Gush Shalom is to influence Israeli public opinion and lead it towards peace and conciliation with the Palestinian people, based on the following principles:

Putting an end to the occupation.

Accepting an independent and sovereign State of Palestine in all the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

Reinstating the pre-1967 Green Lineó as the border between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine (with possible minor exchanges of territories agreed between the parties); the border will be open for the free movement of people and goods, subject to mutual agreement.

Establishing Jerusalem as the capital of the two states, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and West Jerusalem (including the Western Wall) serving as the capital of Israel. The city is to be united on the physical and municipal level.

Recognizing in principle the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees, allowing each refugee to choose freely between compensation and repatriation to Palestine and Israel, and fixing by mutual agreement the number of refugees who will be able to return to Israel in annual quotas, without undermining the foundations of Israel.

Safeguarding the security of both Israel and Palestine.

Striving for overall peace between Israel and all Arab countries and the creation of a regional union.

History and Structure

The Gush was founded by Mr. Uri Avnery and others in 1993, when the older peace groups in Israel did not oppose the repressive measures introduced by the new Labor Party government headed by Yitzhak Rabin. The inner core consists of about a hundred activists. The Gush has no salaried employees. Gush activists pay their own expenses and travel costs to demonstrations. A larger group of some 600 activists are on the Gush action list. Several thousands more identify with it, follow its activities, and help to conduct its campaign. Many of them donate money. The Gush receives almost no funding from any Israeli or international organization. The brunt of the financial burden is borne by individual Israeli citizens.

Actions

Gush Shalom is active on a very wide front, unparalleled by any other peace or human rights organization in Israel. Its activities in 2000-02 include:

The Gush has held hundreds of demonstrations and direct actions. Most of these were joint actions with Palestinians, many in cooperation with other peace groups. Recent examples:

Over the years, the Gush has published and distributed a wide range of stickers, such as Jerusalem Capital of the Two States.ó The most popular sticker is composed of the flags of Israel and Palestine. The two joined flags are also the official emblem of the Gush.

Professor Rudmin teaches psychology at the University of Tromso, Norway.

Contributions may be sent to:Gush ShalomPOB 3322Tel-Aviv 61033Israel http://www.gush-shalom.org/english/

Peace Magazine Jul-Sep 2002

Peace Magazine Jul-Sep 2002, page 15. Some rights reserved.

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