Uri & Rachel Avnery to receive reward in Stockholm
Gush Shalom and Uri & Rachel Avnery to receive reward in Stockholm
GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - http://www.gush-shalom.org/
On Friday, Dec. 7, in an official ceremony at the Swedish parliament, the 'Alternative Nobel Prize' will be awarded to Gush Shalom (Israeli Peace Bloc) as well as personally to Uri and Rachel Avnery.
In its decision the jury says that “Gush Shalom and its co-founders Uri and Rachel Avnery, have shown the way to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and worked for several decades with courage and dedication to promote its acceptance and implementation."
The jury honors the Avnerys and all Gush Shalom activists "for their unwavering conviction, in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances, that peace and an end to terrorism can only be achieved through justice and reconciliation.”
"The decision of the jury is an expression of the wish to strengthen the Israeli peace camp, the part of Israeli society which continues to seek a peace based on mutual respect between the two peoples" says Uri Avnery. "In the same week that the government of Israel, dominated by the most extreme and intransigent factions, declares war against the Palestinian Authority and Arafat, in Stockholm the international community gives a very different message. From the moment he was elected, Sharon acted consistently against every possibility of conciliation and peace - by closure and siege, bombardments and liquidations, and by effectively neutralizing any chance of getting back to the negotiating table. The recent assassination of Hamas leader Mahmud Abu Hunud meant the end of the silent agreement between the Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, in this way provoking the latest series of terrorist attacks, which in turn gave Sharon the legitimation he sought for an all-out war. It proves this government aims at war, a war which will entail enormous bloodshed. Gush Shalom calls upon all who seek a different Israel to join in the struggle against the Sharon government and the war it instigated.
The prestigious prize whose official name is Right Livelihood Award, but which is generally known as the "Alternative Noble Prize" is being awarded every year in the Swedish Parliament, on the day before the official Nobel Prize ceremony. Founded in 1980, the prize had the aim “to honor and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.” The initiator Jacob von Uexkull, a philatelic expert and descendant of a well-known Swedish-German aristocratic family, sold his valuable postage stamp collection to provide the original endowment. Von Uexkull felt that today's institutionalized Nobel Prize ignores much work and knowledge vital to the future of humankind.
As every year, the award was divided between four. The three other laureates are the British anti-nuclear organization Trident Ploughshares; Leonardo Boff, Brazil, one of the founders of liberation theology in Latin America; and Jose Antonio Abreu, the founder of Venezuela’s system of children’s orchestras.