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Israel's symbol of the hard Left, Uri Avnery, passes away at age 94 | Ynet News |

The prominent journalist, peace activist, fierce critic of Israeli policies, and former MK Uri Avnery--who became the symbol of Israel's hard Left--passed away at age 94 overnight Sunday after suffering a stroke ten days ago.

Avnery was the editor in chief for 40 years of the weekly magazine HaOlam HaZeh (This World) which ceased publication in 1993.

He served as an MK in the sixth and seventh Knesset for the "HaOlam HaZeh-Koah Hadash" movement, a small radical left-wing political party known as Meri. He also served in the ninth Knesset for the political party known as the Left Camp of Israel.

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Avnery was a member of several organizations calling for Israeli-Palestinian cooperation and was one of the founders of the Gush Shalom peace group established in 1993. Throughout his career, he remained a staunch supporter of the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel and was the recipient of numerous international awards for his efforts toward that goal.

Over the course of the last two decades, Avnery remained at the forefront of the political scene, and continued to polish his reputation as a symbol of the far Left in Israel.

In 1999, he led a group of around 100 Gush Shalom activists in a march to Orient House in eastern Jerusalem that served as the headquarters of the PLO in the 80s and 90s where he submitted a declaration to the prominent Palestinian politician, Faisal Husseini "recognizing the right of the Palestinian people to the entire West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem."

Avnery also opposed the construction of Israel's security barrier and participated in protests against it, arguing that it was a precursor to annexing Palestinian territory.

He also took part in demonstrations against IDF activities during the intifada in the territories conquered during the Six-Day War.

In 2004, Avnery became a laureate of the Israeli journalism Sokolov Award and continued to conduct interviews and express opinions largely at odds with the mainstream Israeli public.

Avnery also took his political battles to the High Court of Justice (HCJ) submitting in 2011 a Gush Shalom-sponsored petition against Boycott Law.

The petition's authors argued that the law harmed the basic principles of democracy and that boycotting Israel is a legitimate tool in a democratic society, the use of which cannot be curtailed.

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President Reuven Rivlin expressed his condolences following the news of Avnery's passing.

"Avnery was an advocate of Jabotinsky's idea that 'silence is filthy,' and his campaign for state recognition of Irgun fighters and a war he waged for freedom of expression paved the Israel's way as a young state," Rivling said.

"We had strong disagreements, but they were dwarfed by our desire to build a free and strong society here. May he rest in peace," he concluded.

Gush Shalom also issued a statement mourning the passing of what it described as the organization's founding father.

"Avnery devoted himself entirely to the struggle to achieve peace between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people in their independent state, as well as between Israel and the Arab and Muslim World.

"He did not get to the end of the road, did not live to see peace come about. We--the members of Gush Shalom as well as very many other people who were directly and indirectly influenced by him--will continue his mission and honor his memory," the statement continued, before slamming the current government for entering into indirect negotiations with the Hamas terror group.

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by Oui on Tue Aug 21st, 2018 at 02:24:22 AM EST

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