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Occupation magazine - Activism
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Israel Prize laureates protest for Palestinian state
By: Yoav Zitun
21 April 2011
Dozens of left-wing activists have joined 17 Israel Prize laureates in front of the building in which Israel`s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, declared independence, to call for the establishment of a Palestinian state with 1967 borders.
Police have set up a divide between the two sides, but the protests on Tel Aviv`s Rothschild Boulevard quickly came to blows.
Rightists waved Israeli flags and called out `Jewish Nazi` and `traitor` at actress Hanna Maron, who attempted to read out the declaration prepared by organizers. They also called the leftists a `fifth column` and some called out, `You forgot about the children who were slaughtered in Itamar.`
Meanwhile camera crews, among them journalists from various Arab news agencies, stood by as Maron spoke. `Sixty-three years ago Israel`s Declaration of Independence was read out here. The declaration extended a hand of peace to all of our neighbors,` she said.
`It is the natural right of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples to be as all other nations – to stand independently in their nation state,` she added.
The organizers of the event are a number of artists and academicians who have recently published petitions warning of the rise of `fascism` in the Israeli government. Among them are former Minister Shulamit Aloni, author Sami Michael, and filmmaker Ari Folman.
`We have gathered here today, on April 21, 2011, to welcome the expected declaration of independence of the Palestinian state, Israel`s neighbor, with our borders of independence – which came into being at the end of the War of Independence in 1949 – the borders known as the `67 borders,` a document drawn up by the left-wing activists says.
`The independence of both states strengthens each other. It is a moral and existential need and the basis for the possibility of good neighborly relations.`
The document adds, `We call on the citizens of Israel, the Knesset, the government, citizens of the world and their governments to recognize two states, in which the right to self-definition must be expressed by both peoples as well as the general principles of democracy and equality.`
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon responded to the initiative. `Moves like these only lessen the chances of a truce and the establishment of a Palestinian state, and create false hopes among the Palestinians that they can establish a state one-sidedly and without negotiating with Israel. It would be better for the protesters to convince Palestinian leaders to come to the negotiations table,` he said.
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