The founder of a prominent Israeli peace group has told euronews that his country should sacrifice more to secure a lasting settlement.
Uri Avnery set up Gush Shalom, which means Peace Now, nearly 20 years ago.
Now 89, he has also been a writer, journalist and politician – reportedly becoming the first Israeli Yasser Arafat ever met.
The veteran campaigner is strongly critical of Israel’s assault on Gaza, saying it has merely strengthened Hamas.
“Hamas was boycotted by the international community, by the Arab world, and now heads of state are visiting the Gaza Strip for the first time. Arab governments are visiting. It’s gaining international stature. At this moment Hamas is the hero of the entire Arab world,” he told euronews correspondent Luis Carballo in Tel Aviv.
Avnery believes electoral considerations lay behind the Israeli bombardment, and says a lasting peace could be within Israel’s grasp – if it compromised.
“If you want a Jewish state in all of historical Palestine, if you want to put Israeli settlements all over the West Bank, then you don’t want this peace. If you are ready to accept to give back the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in return for peace you can have it tomorrow morning,” Avnery said.
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