Dozens of public figures will stage a protest on Thursday at 2 p.m. in front of Independence Hall on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard, where David Ben-Gurion declared Israel's statehood in May of 1948. Participants, including 17 Israel Prize winners, said they will express support for the declaration of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.
The protesters also plan to sign their own written declaration to this effect, and will invite members of the general public to join them in signing the document.
"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 document declares.
"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... The total end to the occupation is a fundamental precondition for the liberation of the two peoples," the statement continues.
Sponsors of the event insist it will not be a token protest, but rather part of a larger process that will lead to a legitimate alternative to Israel's current policies.
"Our initiative is not a naive one," said Sefi Rachlevsky, one of the initiators of the demonstration and a Haaretz columnist. "Instead of Israel being the first to extend its hand and support Palestinian independence, it is trying to warn against it. That is not only a moral disaster, but it's also liable to bring about a practical catastrophe in which Israel will isolate itself and turn into a kind of South Africa."
"Israel is acting this way out of the delusion that it's possible to continue its colonialist behavior, which is built on anti-democratic racism that contradicts [Israel's own] declaration of independence," he added.
"I am speaking from a Zionist standpoint," Prof. Yehuda Bauer explained. "Zionism sets as its goal the preservation of a Jewish national home with a solid Jewish majority - this was the dream of people from the left, right and center of classical Zionism. But the continuation of the occupation guarantees the nullification of Zionism - that is, it rules out the possibility that the Jewish people will live in its land with a strong majority and international recognition. In my eyes, this makes [Israel's] government clearly anti-Zionist."
Bauer said that he sees the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders as the "realization of genuine Jewish nationalism that exists in peace in the region, and within the international community."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now