Middle East News
Israeli intellectuals declare support for Palestinian state
Apr 21, 2011, 12:57 GMT
Tel Aviv - Dozens of Israeli intellectuals called Thursday for the establishment of a Palestinian state along the borders which existed between Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip prior to the 1967 Middle East War.
Right-wing activists who oppose Palestinian statehood staged a counter demonstration near the intellectuals' meeting place in Tel Aviv, some of them holding up signs declaring those in favour of Palestinian statehood to be 'traitors.'
The protests took place outside the city's historic building where Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared Israeli statehood on 14 May 1948.
Actress Hannah Meron, who lost a leg in a 1970 Palestinian attack on an Israeli airplane at Munich airport, read out the declaration in support of Palestinian statehood, to the applause of supporters, and the boos and whistles of opponents.
'We call on everyone who seeks peace and freedom for all peoples to support the declaration of Palestinian statehood,' the statement said.
The Palestinians plan to approach the United Nations to push for a resolution backing a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders in September.
'A Palestinian declaration of independence is in Israel's interest. We are heading for disaster if Israel doesn't change direction,' said Israeli journalist Sefi Rachlevsky.
'This is the way. We are going to have to leave the territories,' one spectator, Oded Lieberman, said.
Signatories to the declaration read out on Thursday included 17 winners of the Israel Prize, the country's top civil honour given for oustanding achievement in fields such as education, history and science.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been on ice since the end of September amid Israel's refusal to meet a Palestinian precondition for direct peace talks - that it freeze all Israeli construction in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Read more about Mideast Conflict