Peace Now

Peace Now (Hebrew: שלום עכשיו - "Shalom Akhshav") is a left-wing non-governmental organization [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3409006,00.html Peace Now in Hebron: Expel settlers from city - Israel News, Ynetnews ] ] in Israel with the agenda of "swaying popular opinion and convincing the Israeli government of the need and possibility for achieving a just peace and a historic conciliation with the Palestinian people and neighboring Arab countries; this in exchange for a territorial settlement based on the formula of 'land for peace'".

History

Following Anwar Sadat's visit to Israel in 1978, 348 Israeli military reserves officers petitioned Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin urging him to continue with the drive for peace. This petition led to the creation of Peace Now, a grassroots movement dedicated to raising public support for the "peace process." [http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/peace.asp?pi=43 Peace Now : About > About Us ] ] [ [http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/peace.asp?pi=43&docid=62&pos=1 Peace Now : About > About Us ] ]

At a rally held in Tel-Aviv's "Kikar Malkhei Israel" (later renamed Rabin Square, "Kikar Rabin" after Yitzhak Rabin), demonstrators called on Prime Minister Begin to sign a peace treaty with Egypt in exchange for the return of the Sinai peninsula.Fact|date=February 2007

Peace Now opposed the 1982 Invasion of Lebanon, holding a massive rally after the Sabra and Shatila Massacre .

On 10 February 1983, at a Peace Now demonstration in Jerusalem, a right-wing militant named Yonah Avrushmi tossed a hand-grenade at demonstrators, killing Peace Now activist Emil Grunzweig and injuring several others. [cite news
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Throughout the years of its activity Peace Now has opposed Israeli settlement in the West Bank, which it perceives as being calculated to undermine the possibility of peace with the Palestinians.Fact|date=February 2007

The First Intifada was perceived by Peace Now as a political act, therefore the movement called for negotiations to be held with the Palestinians, aimed at putting an end to what the movement perceives as forced occupation of the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) and Gaza.Fact|date=February 2007

The signing of the Oslo accords marked a milestone in the activity of Peace Now, which has since strived to support governments that acted according to the "land for peace" formula, and demonstrate against governments that had different approaches to the peace process.Fact|date=February 2007

With the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (2000 to present), support for the movement has waned, in light of what seems from a present perspective as the collapse of the peace process set into motion at Oslo. Fact|date=February 2007

In 2003, new initiatives aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were set into motion, such as the "National Census" and the "Geneva Initiative", both of which are also based on the "land for peace" formula. Neither initiative is officially affiliated to Peace Now, though many of same players have been involved in the various peace initiatives. The Geneva Accord is identified with Yossi Beilin and the Yachad party; the National Census is identified with Ami Ayalon, who has deliberately kept this initiative separate from Peace Now in order not to damage support from the general public.Fact|date=February 2007

Peace Now's main activities for 2004 are monitoring Israeli settlement expansions and the establishment of illegal outposts by the Hilltop Youth. Peace Now was one of the main organizers of the "Mate ha-Rov" ("majority camp") demonstration in 2004, in support of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004 and withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. On March 19 2005, a pro-disengagement rally attracted 10,000 people. Since Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza, Peace Now has not organized any major effort to support any further withdrawals.Fact|date=February 2007

Criticism and controversy

The movement has been criticized by more conservative supporters of Israel who claim that it lacks realism given the alleged absence of a corresponding movement on the Arab side of the conflict.

Ami Ayalon, former head of the Shin Bet and co-initiator of the "National Census" peace proposal (with professor Sari Nusseibeh), has criticized Peace Now for what he claims is demonizing the Jewish settlers, thus encouraging hate towards settlers, and providing the general public reasons to dislike the peace camp.

Ayalon scorns Peace Now for failing to rally the masses in support of the Israeli Peace movement. Ayalon also claims that this because Peace Now and the left wing have shown alienation and a patronizing attitude towards the general Israeli public, and that this attitude combined with increased terrorist activity over the past four years are to blame for Peace Now's current poor standing within the Israeli public, which feels the peace camp is not committed (enough) to stop Palestinian terrorism and protect Israel's interests.

Ayalon concluded that many settlements should indeed be disbanded, but the transferred settlers should be embraced and receive support - both financial and moral - from the state and the public, and not being treated as enemies. [ [http://news.walla.co.il/?w=//543668] he icon]

Peace Now has also been criticized by some groups within Israel for receiving funding from sources such as the European Union. [ [http://www.nfc.co.il/archive/002-D-322-00.html?tag=6-24-32#PTEXT714] he icon] In January 2008, Israel's Knesset passed a law requiring organizations to publicize financial contributions from foreign governments. This law was aimed specifically at Peace Now, who many Israelis have come to view as agents of Europe acting against the State of Israel's national interests. [ [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/124952 'Peace Now' Will Have to Publicize EU Contributions - Politics & Government - Israel News - Arutz Sheva ] ]

Following a protest by Peace Now activists in Hebron against Israeli control of the territories, Palestinians hurled rocks at their bus and a police car driving near it.

General Secretary

The general secretary of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, was doing his reserves duty in a checkpoint in the Jordan valley in the Palestinian territories and was acting just like any other Israeli soldier.

In an article published by the Israeli news-site NRG (http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/646/857.html), Two Machsom Watch activists report seeing Oppenheimer making his military reserve duty in a checkpoint inside the territories.

Oppenheimer didn't deny the story and told the journalist that "When I am being called to do my reserve duty in the territories, i am doing my best to make my task successfully also if it is against my point of view and to act in a humanitarian way".

ee also

*"At the Green Line"
*Combatants for Peace
*Israeli peace camp
*Israeli-Palestinian conflict
*al-Aqsa Intifada
*Americans for Peace Now

Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties

*Paris Peace Conference, 1919
*Faisal-Weizmann Agreement (1919)
*1949 Armistice Agreements
*Camp David Accords (1978)
*Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty (1979)
*Madrid Conference of 1991
*Oslo Accords (1993)
*Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace (1994)
*Camp David 2000 Summit
*Peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
*Projects working for peace among Israelis and Arabs
*List of Middle East peace proposals
*International law and the Arab-Israeli conflict

References

External links

* [http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/homepage.asp?pi=25 Official site]
* [http://www.peacenow.org/ Americans for Peace Now]
* [http://shalomnow.com Opposition to Peace Now]
* [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/973018.html Peace Now Thirty Years' Anniversary (Haaretz, April 8, 2008)]


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