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September 2006 Newsletter

Peace Groups in Israel

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On August 5, 10,000 Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel gathered in Tel Aviv to demand a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement in Lebanon. Although they rarely get coverage in the US press, there are many non-violent Israeli peace groups that have been active for years, working closely with one another and with their Palestinian counterparts.

Yesh Gvul ( came into being during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. These are the refuseniks—soldiers refusing to take part in what they consider to be immoral or illegal acts. The refusals continued after the first Palestinian intifada (uprising) in 1987, again after the second in 2000, and to this day. Since many refusers have been jailed, an important part of the group’s work has been to raise money for legal aid and for financial support to refuser families.

In 1994 prominent Israeli and Palestinian women who had been meeting for years formed a group called the Jerusalem Link, comprising the Jerusalem Center for Women on the Palestinian side ( and Bat Shalom (women for peace: on the Israeli side The Jerusalem Link gives life to the motto: “We refuse to be enemies.” In Israel Bat Shalom works toward a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as for a more democratic and just society within Israel, shaped equally by women and men. In 1996, Bat Shalom was a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Gush Shalom (the peace bloc: was founded in 1993 and likens itself to the hub of a wheel, since it is a small group advocating for acceptance of a just and viable Palestinian state and mobilizing much larger groups of supporters. A major part of its work is publicizing the peace movement’s point of view.

Other important Israeli peace groups include: New Profile (; Israeli committee Against House Demolitions (; Ta’ayush (; Alternative Information Center; and Combatants for Peace (

Read or hear a Democracy Now inteview with a former Israeli Air Force officer, now a member of Combatants for Peace, composed of both Israeli and Palestinian former fighters.


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