20/08/2018 / Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery has passed away

Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery has passed away

Peace, Democracy and Law, 20/08/2018

The prominent Israeli peace activist, Uri Avnery, has passed away aged 94. He received the Right Livelihood Award in 2001, together with his wife Rachel Avnery and the organization Gush Shalom that they co-founded, “for their unwavering conviction, in the midst of violence, that peace can only be achieved through justice and reconciliation.”

Gush Shalom / Uri Avnery during a protest march in 2001

Gush Shalom / Uri Avnery during a protest march in 2001

“Uri Avnery was a visionary and a brave peace activist, who paved the way for many others to follow in the struggle for justice, peace, and reconciliation. We mourn the loss of a man whose ideas and courage have been a source of inspiration for many in a region still dominated by violence and vengeance,” said Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

Uri Avnery was born in 1923 in Germany, but a decade later moved to Palestine with his family. He sustained severe wounds fighting in the Israeli-Palestinian War in 1948. Since then, he has embraced the two-state solution and dedicated his life to campaigning for peace between Israelis and Palestinians – as an author and magazine editor, as a Member of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, and as an indefatigable peace activist.

Uri and his wife Rachel Avnery were two of the leading figures behind Gush Shalom, a peace movement that saw the light in Israel in 1993. The movement has been campaigning against the further extension of Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories, and the continuing demolition of Arab houses. Among others, it advocates for the Israeli withdrawal from all the Occupied Territories, as well as the boycott of products from Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

Gush Shalom wrote in a statement:

Avnery devoted himself entirely to the struggle to achieve peace between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people in their independent state, as well as between Israel and the Arab and Muslim World. We – the members of Gush Shalom as well as many other people who were directly and indirectly influenced by him – will continue his mission and honor his memory.  

In the history of the State of Israel, Uri Avnery will be inscribed as a far-seeing visionary who pointed to a way which others failed to see. It is the fate and future of the State of Israel to reach peace with its neighbors, and to integrate into the geographical and political region in which it is located. Avnery’s greatest opponents will ultimately have to follow his footsteps – because the State of Israel has no other real choice.”

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