The New European article about Gush Shalom, Israel’s peace movement explains that the primary aim of Gush Shalom is to influence Israeli public opinion and lead it towards peace and reconciliation with the Palestinian people, based on principles which include:
- Putting an end to the occupation.
- Accepting the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent and sovereign State of Palestine in all the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.
- Establishing Jerusalem as the capital of the two states, with East Jerusalem (including the Haram al-Sharif) serving 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, based on mutual agreement.
- 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 by mutual agreement and guarantees.
- Striving for overall peace between Israel and all Arab countries and the creation of a regional union.
Gush Shalom, founded and led by former Irgun and Knesset member and journalist, Uri Avnery in 1993, has been described by the American Friends Service Committee as “one of Israel’s most influential peace organizations.” It has members who are associated with various political parties.
It was established in 1993, Avnery has stated, because other Israeli peace groups did not take a strong stance against what he considered “the repressive measures” of the government of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.