Israeli intellectuals declare for Palestinian state at rally

Israeli intellectuals declare for Palestinian state at rally

TEL AVIV — A group of Israel Prize laureates and other notable artists and academics endorsed Palestinian plans to declare independence along 1967 lines at a Tel Aviv ceremony.

Thursday’s rally was held next to the building where Israel’s founders declared statehood in 1948.

At an event that became heated when right-wing protesters heckled the group along with some 200 supporters with calls of “traitors” and “the left supports terror,” the declaration was read aloud.

“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 declaration said.

“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,” it said.

“The total end to the occupation,” declaration said, “is a fundamental precondition for the liberation of the two peoples.”

Police were forced to physically separate the left-wing and right-wing groups.

With peace talks at a standstill, the Palestinians have decided to seek recognition of statehood from the U.N. General Assembly in September — a move Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has warned could launch a “diplomatic tsunami.”

Analysts are predicting increased political isolation and possible economic sanctions for Israel should a Palestinian state be internationally recognized.

Israel and the United States have rejected the idea of the Palestinians going to the United Nations for recognition before a peace deal is forged.

Among those watching Thursday’s event was Hanna Keller, 82, who also attended the 1948 Israeli declaration of independence as a teenage soldier in the Haganah, the prestate militia.

“We were full of hope then that there would be two states but that never came to be,” she said. “Only if we both have states can we both survive.”