Mr. Menachem Begin
Dear Prime Minister,
This letter is sent to you by Israeli citizens, who also serve as soldiers and officers in the reserves. We do not address the following words to you with an easy heart. However, at this time, when new options for peace and cooperation in the area are for the first time presented to Israel, we consider it an obligation to appeal to you - to avoid steps liable to bring misfortune to our people and our country.
We write with a sense of deep alarm. We have doubts about the policy of a government which prefers settlements beyond the Green Line to terminating the historic conflict, and establishing normal relations with the countries in our region.
The government policy, perpetuating its rule over a million Arabs, could harm the Jewish-democratic character of the state, and make it difficult for us to identify with its task. Mindful of Israel's security needs and the difficulties on the path to peace, we nevertheless consider that real security can be achieved only when we achieve peace. The strength of the Israel Defense Forces lies in the identification of its citizen-soldier with Israel's road.
We call on you to choose the road of peace, and therefore strengthen our belief in our cause.
Peace Now timeline from Officers' Letter in 1978 to its reissuing in 1998...
Founding of Shalom Achshav (Peace Now)
The largest grassroots movement in Israel's history is founded in 1978 by 348 reserve army officers and combat soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces
Forging the First Peace
On the eve of Prime Minister Begin's historic trip to negotiate peace with Egypt, Shalom Achshav mobilizes hundreds of thousands of Israelis in a massive demonstration of public willingness to trade land for a secure peace with an Arab neighbor
Establishment of American for Peace Now
Networks of support for Shalom Achshav emerge around the United States and a national movement begins to form
Ending the War in Lebanon
Following the massacres of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps by the Phalangist militia, Shalom Achshav helps to rally 400,000 people - 10% of Israel's population - in a successful effort to demand a government commission of inquiry and an end to the war in Lebanon
Building Bridges to the Other Side
Shalom Achshav initiates dialogue and reconciliation projects with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza
"Speak Peace with the PLO"
Shalom Achshav launches its campaign "Speak Peace with the PLO" helping to legitimize dialogue and pave the way for the Oslo negotiations
Promoting Peace in Times of Crisis
As the Intifada and violent retaliation escalates, Shalom Achshav organizes "Hands around Jerusalem," a landmark partnership as 25,000 Israelis and Palestinians linked hands to encircle the walls oof the Old City in a chain of peace
Launching of Settlement Watch Project
This project has become one of the most reliable and respected sources of information on settlement activity
Creating a Shalom Achshav Youth Movement
Thousands of Israeli youth have been mobilized throughout Israel and have helped facilitate a parallel development among Palestinian youth in the West Bank and Gaza
Establishing Ir Shalem Project
This project opposes housing eviction and land confiscation of Palestinians in Jerusalem and promotes policies that seek equity and unity among all of Jerusalem's residents, Israeli and Palestinian
Groundbreaking Tour by Israeli and Palestinian Youth
From the White House to inner-city high schools, they traveled the United States sharing their ideas about reconciliation, offering hope even in the face of a new wave of suicide terrorism
Expanding Washington Advocacy
APN launches its Action Alert Network and Adopt-a-Congressperson program in support of American mediation efforts in the Arab-Israeli conflict
APN Presents Creative Policy Options
Presenting ideas to breaking the protracted negotiating deadlock and challenging both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Arafat to live up to their Oslo obligations
Reissuing of Shalom Achshav Officers' Letter
Hundreds of new signators recommit themselves to the principle of a secure and lasting peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors