Protest at Tel Aviv's Indpendence Hall 311 .
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Verbal altercations and shoving matches broke out next to Tel Aviv's
Independence Hall on Thursday, as a group of Israeli artists and
intellectuals prepared to read a declaration supporting the founding of a
Palestinian state based on 1967 lines.
As of 2 p.m. a handful of counter-protesters and cameramen swelled into a
mob of hundreds shouting "traitors" and "fifth columnists" among other
chants as the group of artists began arriving.
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Eventually, Israeli theater legend Hanna Maron took to a microphone in
the pedestrian walkway on Rothschild Blvd. and read from the
declaration, as a cavalcade of boos and insults largely drowned out her
"Israel's Declaration of Independence was made in accordance with the
United Nations' decision to divide the land between two states: a
democratic Jewish and a democratic Arab state. Each people was expected
to fulfill its natural right of self determination in a sovereign state.
We consider the independence of the two states and the unqualified end
of the occupation a moral and an existential imperative as well as a
necessary condition for a good neighborhood," the statement read.
The demonstration had a largely volatile edge to it, but was eventually
dispersed shortly after 3 p.m. without any injuries or arrests made.
The demonstration came on the heels of a press conference held in Tel
Aviv two weeks ago by a group called "The Israeli Peace Initiative",
made up largely of former security leaders. The group called for the
Israeli government to launch a peace settlement based on the 2002 Arab
Peace Initiative, which, like the declaration on Thursday, called for an
Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines, in addition to a compromise on
the Palestinian refugee issue.