Prominent Israelis gather in Tel Aviv to support Palestinian state 21Apr11 April 22, 2011

The Alternative Information Centre -  21 April 2011

Dozens of prominent Israelis, academics, artists, scientists, politicians and activists, gathered outside Israel’s Independence Hall in Tel Aviv Thursday afternoon, 21 April, to voice their support for the creation of a Palestinian state.

A large group of right-wing activists also gathered at the site for a counter-protest, calling the demonstrators “traitors”. Police formed a divide between the two sides.

A list of well known individuals have added their names to a document supporting the declaration of a Palestinian state along 1967 borders. The group includes 17 recipients of the prestigious Israel Prize.

The petition’s prominent signatories include Menachem Yaari, the former president of Israel Academy of Sciences, Shulamit Aloni, the founder of the leftist Meretz party and Danny Karavan, a painter and sculptor.

“The Jewish people arose in the Land of Israel, where its character was forged. The Palestinian people is rising in Palestine, where its character was forged,” the document states.

“We call on everyone who seeks peace and freedom for all peoples to support the declaration of Palestinian statehood, and to act in a way that encourages the citizens of the two states to maintain peaceful relations on the basis of the 1967 borders… The total end to the occupation is a fundamental precondition for the liberation of the two peoples,” the statement continues.

The petition comes just as the Quartet on the Middle East, made up of the United Nations, European Union, Russia and United States, said that if peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians fail to resume, a state may be officially endorsed regardless.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues stalling negotiations with that claim that the Palestinians refuse to acknowledge that Israel is a Jewish state.

The statement being read outside Independence Hall on Thursday, while definitely attention grabbing, does little without cooperation on the part of the Israeli government, determined to inaction and further settlement expansion.

In fact, the petition is very much Zionist.

Speaking of the current political scenario, Dr. Yehuda Bauer, a prominent Israeli historian and scholar of the Holocaust at Hebrew University, said: “Zionism sets as its goal the preservation of a Jewish national home with a solid Jewish majority – this was the dream of people from the left, right and center of classical Zionism. But the continuation of the occupation guarantees the nullification of Zionism – that is, it rules out the possibility that the Jewish people will live in its land with a strong majority and international recognition. In my eyes, this makes [Israel's] government clearly anti-Zionist.”

Bauer said that he sees the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders as the “realization of genuine Jewish nationalism that exists in peace in the region, and within the international community,” reported the Israeli news daily Haaretz.

While the petition will certainly gain media attention, it is unlikely that it will have any real impact on the current Israeli government, which seems very much set on its own current path.

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