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Peace Now

Peace Now (Hebrew שלום עכשיו or Shalom Akshav) is an Israeli movement aiming at bringing about peace between Jews and Arabs. "Peace Now" has been responsible for many of what many Jews and Palestinians see as positive changes in Israeli policy towards the Palestinian population.

The movement's roots go back to protests of the mid-1970s following the Yom Kippur War and the Israeli government's questionable decision-making before and during it. It became a political power in Israel following the 1982 Lebanon War and, in particular, the Sabra and Shatila massacre. In response, hundreds of thousands of people (the organizers and press claimed 400,000, though many people now contest this number) attended a demonstration in Tel-Aviv in September 1982, protesting the massacre.

The movement hailed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and supported the possibility of an Israeli withdrawal from the 10 mile wide security zone in southern Lebanon. Pressure from Peace Now and other such organizations was one of the causes for the Israeli retreat in June 2000.

In recent years, Peace Now has often used the slogan "It's the Occupation Stupid" to summarize their views on the current political situation. In return they have been widely criticized by the Israeli right because of their "immediate" ideology, which could mean making concessions to those whose friendliness to Israel has not been tested by time. This criticism only intensified after the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada, which left the movement in an ideological crisis. However, it is still influential among the Israeli left.

Peace Now draws its support mainly from middle-class communities, in many though not all cases secular. It has been fiercely attacked by the right-wing conservatives. It does not have an internal religious agenda, though the left-wing organizations, one of which is Peace Now, are sometimes attacked by the Ultra-Orthodox community due to their association with the Meretz political party and the socialist blocs that often also speak in favor of secularization.

See also: Projects working for peace among Israelis and Arabs

External links: Peace Now homepage