Israeli leftists demonstrate for PA statehood in TA

Dozens proclaim support for Palestinian bid outside Independence Hall, sign declaration; Israel Prize laureates among protesters.

September 22, 2011 20:15
2 minute read.
Victory signs flashed in front of Palestinian flag

palestinian flag_311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ali Jarekji)


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Dozens of Israeli artists and academics on Thursday proclaimed their support for the Palestinian United Nations statehood bid, outside Independence Hall on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv.

The setting was symbolic, held outside the same building where David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the independence of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948.

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Earlier on Thursday, the group of 82 intellectuals and artists published a declaration supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967, lines. At the demonstration, the public was invited to sign their names alongside the declaration.

The declaration reads: “We, the undersigned, call on all persons seeking peace and freedom, and upon all nations to join us in welcoming the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, to support it and to work and act together in order to encourage the citizens of both countries to live together in peace, based on the ’67 borders and mutual agreement. A final and complete end to the occupation is a basic condition for the freedom of both peoples, for the realization of Israel’s Declaration of Independence and a future of peaceful coexistence.”

The signatories included actress and Israel Prize laureate Gila Almagor-Agmon, former education minister and Israel Prize laureate Shulamit Aloni, former OC IDF Chief Education Officer Maj.-Gen. (res.) Nehemiah Dagan, and author and Israel Prize laureate Amos Oz.

Former ambassador Alon Liel told the crowd that Israelis must support the Palestinian statehood bid and ignore Washington’s impending Security Council veto of the initiative.

Liel called US President Barack Obama’s speech at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday “a knockout punch to [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas. A clearly anti- Palestinian US campaign speech. A speech where he said the US supports the rebels in Tunisia, in Libya, in Egypt, in Bahrain, but in Palestine? No. The Palestinians are something else because they are facing Israel.

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“It hurts to see a president like Obama, who caused us to feel such great hope, dismiss Abu Mazen [Abbas], who has spent three years working on the diplomatic track,” Liel said. “Obama and the US are no longer running the world today; there is a larger international community that can run the world.

The US doesn’t have the power to deal you this blow.”

In April, a group that included many of the same Israelis proclaimed their support for a Palestinian state outside Independence Hall.

Thursday’s effort was significantly more low-key than the one in April, in which many passersby booed and shouted at the protesters, and a number of shoving matches broke out.

On Friday, Peace Now will also hold a series of demonstrations in support of the Palestinian statehood bid.

Titled “Israel says yes to the Palestinian state,” the initiative will include rallies in north Tel Aviv at the corner of Arlozorov and Namir, in Jerusalem under the Strings Bridge, in Kiryat Ono, and in Haifa.

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