Dec. 7 Gush Shalom and Uri & Rachel Avnery to receive reward in Stockholm

Date: 12/5/2001 11:20:34 AM Pacific Standard Time

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 -

Press release

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.