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BBC News Front Page | World | In Depth | Israel and the Palestinians
Voices of Conflict
Sleiman Shimlawi: West Bank farmer
Efrat Gamlieli: Jerusalem resident
Nidhal: Youth on the Gaza Strip
Asher Susser: Israeli academic
Nakhle Beshara: Doctor in Nazareth
Gilad Ben Nun: Israeli peace activist
Paul Adams: BBC correspondent
David Wilder: Jewish settler in Hebron
Ghada Karmi: Palestinian academic
Gilad Ben Nun
Gilad Ben Nun is the West Bank co-ordinator for Peace Now, the chief peace movement in Israel. He explains the despair and confusion felt by many peace activists and Israeli left-wingers at the upsurge in violence in the Palestinian territories and Israel.

I write to you from a place where a few days ago a car bomb exploded in the middle of a thriving market, killing two and inflicting severe injuries on 10 others.

I write to you from a place where civilians are killed daily from gunfire, shot at them by armed men.

I speak from a country where two soldiers were lynched a few days ago, their dead bodies mutilated beyond recognition, and where an 11-year-old child was shot dead through the head with a 5.56 calibre M-16.

I write to you about the unbearable reality these days in Jerusalem and Israel as well as the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

For 23 years since the Peace Now movement started, following Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's visit to Israel in 1977, we have been pushing forwards towards peace.

We managed almost single handedly to pull down the Government of Menachem and force us out of Lebanon after the Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982.

We urged former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to go to Madrid to meet with the heads of the Arab world.

We backed former Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin in his historical march towards peace and we mourned his murder.

Four months ago Prime Minister Ehud Barak went to Washington and we thought to ourselves that by the time he comes back with a signed agreement we will finally have a lasting peace in this stricken corner of the earth.

Barak and the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat did not go all the way and hellfire broke out, primarily from the Palestinian side, and was answered by the Israeli Defence Force.

Last week I returned from a two-week emergency call up from my reserve unit in the army and here I find myself, the peace activist, back in uniform trying to preserve and guard my sanity.

The peace movement is torn between those who still believe in the possibility of a "warm" peace and those who, like myself, are disillusioned and now start to think there is really no-one to make peace with, and that we must pull out of the occupied territories with or without a peace treaty.

We must enable the Palestinians to achieve their national aspirations.

But should this fulfilment be accompanied with violence against Israelis who will no longer be there, we should retaliate severely with all the might and force the IDF is able to muster.

Any occupation is by definition, an evil and immoral one and I find it very disturbing to be compelled to call myself immoral and evil.

After 33 years it's time to end the suffering, oppression and pain resulting from our occupation.

Should the Palestinians try to harm Israel after occupation has ended, then and only then will we have the moral position to react with all the force at hand - with the moral stance of the defender and not the oppressor.

Mourning soldiers
Last week I returned from a two-week emergency call up from my reserve unit in the army and here I find myself, the peace activist, back in uniform trying to preserve and guard my sanity
Demonstrators
After 33 years it's time we end the suffering, oppression and pain caused by us due to our occupation
Peace demonstrator
Should the Palestinians try to harm Israel after occupation has ended, then and only then will we have the moral position to react with all the force at hand
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