Left in Tel Aviv calls for recognition of Palestinian state

Group of intellectuals, Israel Prize winners met by counter-protesters, chants of "traitors"; verbal altercations break out, police forced to separate groups; Barak calls for calm as country faces "fateful decision."

peace now settlement rally 311 (photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
peace now settlement rally 311
(photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
A group of left-wing intellectuals, among them 17 Israel Prize winners, gathered in front of Independence Hall on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Blvd. Thursday afternoon where they presented a document resembling the Israeli Declaration of Independence, albeit for a Palestinian state.
Counter-protesters, many carrying signs and shouting "traitors," gathered on the opposite side of the boulevard. Police were forced to physically separate the two sides.
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Protesters included several Israeli celebrities and intellectuals, including many Israel Prize winners and nominees. Hanna Maron, the actress and winner of the Israel Prize, was heckled by the right-wing counter-protesters while giving a speech. 
Participants in the event carried placards and chanted slogans calling on Israeli citizens, the government, the Knesset, citizens of the world and their governments to recognize both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and their individual states. Meanwhile, counter-protesters waved Israeli flags and shouted across the street that the Left had forgotten events such as the murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics and the recent slaughter of the Fogel family in Itamar.
Police set up a barricade separating the two groups. Verbal altercations and shouting matches broke out, but no arrests or injuries were reported at the time of this report.
Responding to the events on Rothschild Boulevard , Defense Minister Ehud Barak called for calm.
"I call on everyone to show responsibility. The country is facing fateful decisions and we all want a strong and secure Israel. There are differences among us. There always have been and will be," Barak said.
"But these must worked through a different kind of public dialogue, one which is moderate, responsible, and without the word traitor. One which is without violence. Difficult challenges lie ahead, but we must remember that we are all, at the end of the day, brothers," the defense minister added.