Friday, January 8, 2016

Olof Palme Prize 2015 for Gideon Levy and Mitri Raheb

The jury of the Swedish Olof Palme Prize has awarded the prize to two outspoken opponents of the Israeli occupation: Gideon Levy of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz  and the Palestinian Luthera pastor Mitri Raheb from Bethlehem. The juriy announced on Thursday that they wille receive the prize for their "courageous and indefatigable fight against occupation and violence." The award ceremony will take place on 29 January in Stockholm.
Levy is a journalist who relentlessly critisizes the occupation, Israels xonophoby and its policy towards the Palestinians. He is a member of Haartez' editorial board. He writes a weekly Twilight Zone feature, which covers the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza and also authors political editorials. In 2010 he published a book, The Punishment of Gaza.
Raheb works for the Lutheran church in Bethlehem, and founded the Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture that offers young people an opportunity to investigate their Palestinian identity.
Mirti Raheb
He is one of the authors of the ''Kairos document'' together with Patriarch Michel Sabah, Rev. Naim Ateek, Rifat Kassis and others. Raheb is an outspoken opposent of the theological doctrine that the State of Israel is a continuation of the biblical Israel, that is professed by several Christina demonominations.  He has been critical of the support by Western Christians for Christians of the region who at the same time condone the Israeli occupation: “There is talk as if the West is genuinely interested in Christians, but most of the time they only use them for their own political ends.''
The prize worth 75,000 dollars was created in 1987 in memory of late Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, who was assassinated in 1986. Previous recipients include Congolese physician Denis Mukwege, former Czech president and dissident Vaclav Havel, Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Amnesty International.

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