Israeli leftists call for Palestinian state

AFP , Thursday 21 Apr 2011

Intellectuals and cultural luminaries among those urging their government to accept the creation of an independent Palestinian state along the borders of 1967

Some 300 Israeli left-wingers, including prominent cultural leaders, gathered in Tel Aviv on Thursday to call for the Israeli  to embrace the creation of a Palestinian state.

The activists met to sign a petition, which is endorsed by 17 winners of the prestigious Israel Prize, in a symbolic ceremony in front of the building where the state of Israel was proclaimed on 14 May 14 1948.

The ceremony was met with anger by several dozen right-wing protesters who also gathered at the site and had to be kept away by a heavy police presence, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

The right wing protesters chanted "traitors" at the intellectuals, who called for the creation of a Palestinian state on the borders that existed prior to the 1967 Six Day War, including the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

Among the petition's prominent signatories are Menachem Yaari, the former president of Israel's Academy of Sciences, Shulamit Aloni, the founder of the leftist Meretz party and Danny Karavan, a painter and sculptor.

All three are winners of the Israel Prize, which is considered the Jewish state's highest honour and is awarded each year in several fields, including for contributions to the nation.

The petition comes as Palestinian officials say they are increasingly determined to seek United Nations recognition for a state within the 1967 borders.
"We are here to welcome the expected announcement of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, according to the borders of our independence, fixed during the 1949 armistice," the petition reads.

The armistice marked the end of the first Israeli-Arab war, which resulted in the birth of the Israeli state on borders that did not change until the Six Day War.
"The complete end of the occupation is an essential condition of the liberation of the two peoples," the petition.

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