Peace Now drops its support for war

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Peace Now, the organisation formed in protest at the last Lebanon war, has abandoned its support for the present military campaign and called for a "political solution" to end the conflict.

In one of the first signs of dissent against the war among the mainstream left, Peace Now called a demonstration outside the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv against a war which its previously supportive director, Yariv Oppenheimer, said had "now spiralled out of control". The move is significant, because Peace Now, which has long called for a peaceful solution to the 39-year occupation of Palestinian territories, had been staunchly supported by Amir Peretz, the Defence Minister and promoter of the cabinet-approved plan for an expanded invasion.

Mr Oppenheimer said: "The government is ignoring the political options available. Now is the time for the Israeli government to react positively to [Lebanese] Prime Minister [Fuad] Siniora's plan to send Lebanese troops to the border with Israel."

One TV poll in Israel showed 64 per cent of Israelis in favour of the expanded military campaign.