- Several April 20 Haaretz reports explain efforts for
Palestinian independence, including dozens of Israeli intellectuals and
public figures endorsing it. On April 21 at 2PM, they'll read a statement
in front of Tel Aviv's Independence Hall (where Ben-Gurion) declared Israel's
statehood in May 1948) headlined:
- "ISRAELI INTELLECTUALS WELCOME AND ENDORSE AN INDEPENDENT
PALESTINIAN STATE NEXT TO ISRAEL"
- In part, it states:
- Israel and Palestine represent the birthplace of both
peoples. This declaration expresses "commitment (for a) new state
'to ensure the complete equality of social and political rights to all
its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.' (Israel's) founding
fathers extend(ed their) hand to all neighboring states and their peoples
in an offer of peace and good neighborliness..."
- "Now is the moment to live up to this promise!"
- "We consider the independence of the two states
and the unqualified end of the occupation a moral and an existential imperative
as well as a necessary condition for a good neighborhood."
- "We the undersigned citizens of Israel call upon
all our compatriots, all the members of the Knesset, the Government of
Israel and the governments and citizens of the world to join us in welcoming
and endorsing a newly born (Palestine based on) 1967 borders," agreed
to by both sides in 1949.
- So doing, including ending the occupation, "will
liberate the two peoples and open the way to a lasting peace."
- On April 19, Haaretz writer Ilan Lior said endorsers
include 17 Israel Prize winners (the state's highest honor, presented annually),
as well as others awarded the annual EMET prize (for distinguished academic
and professional achievements).
- Insisting their effort isn't token, they call it part
of a larger process for "a legitimate alternative to Israel's current
policies," including conflicts, violence and occupation, a dead-end
essential to stop.
- Haaretz columnist and endorser Sefi Rachlevsky said:
- "Our initiative is not a naive one. Instead of Israel
being the first to extend its hand and support Palestinian independence,
it is trying to warn us 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, (a threshold,
in fact, it long ago exceeded)."
- "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 (its own) declaration of independence."
- Professor Yehuda Bauer added:
- "I am speaking from a Zionist standpoint. 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....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 recognizing Palestine within 1967 borders
will be the "realization of genuine Jewish nationalism that exists
in peace in the region, and within the international community."
- Hebrew University Professor Yaron Ezrahi, another signer,
said Passover week was chosen, commemorating Jewish liberation, because
"(w)e don't want to pass over the Palestinian people. This is a holiday
of freedom and independence," what Palestinians and all others deserve.
- Another group called the Israeli Peace Initiative, representing
dozens of prominent Israelis, issued an early April document endorsing
an independent Palestine in nearly the entire West Bank, Gaza, and East
Jerusalem, with swap agreements not exceeding 7% of the Territories.
- Jerusalem's Jewish neighborhoods, the Western Wall, and
Old City Jewish Quarter would remain in Israel, Arab ones in Palestine,
and the Temple Mount (for Muslims the Noble Sanctuary) would be international.
- It also endorses Israeli withdrawal from Golan, establishing
new regional security mechanisms and economic cooperation projects, and
the right of return (or financial compensation in lieu thereof) for diaspora
Palestinians to Palestine, not Israel, with "mutually agreed-upon
symbolic exceptions" allowed.
- Endorsers include former Mossad head Danny Yatom, saying:
- "We looked around at what was happening in neighboring
countries and we said to ourselves, 'It is about time that the Israeli
public raised its voice as well.' We feel this initiative can bring along
many members of the public, (and) want to signal to moderate Palestinians
and Syrians that there is a new horizon and light at the end of the tunnel."
- Former Shin Bet head, Yaakov Perry, another endorser,
- "We are isolated internationally and seen to be
against peace. I hope this will make a small contribution to pushing our
prime minister forward. It is about time that Israel initiates something
- On April 20, Haaretz writers Avi Issacharoff and Danna
Harman headlined, "Abbas: Britain and France would recognize Palestinian
- In September, over 130 General Assembly nations will
recognize an independent Palestine within 1967 borders, according to Abbas,
adding that the number could reach 140 or 150, including Britain and France.
- On April 19, Haaretz Service headlined, "Report:
Quartet may formally recognize Palestinian state if peace talks not renewed,"
- "American and European diplomats warned that if
peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are not renewed, the Quartet
(including the US, UN, EU and Russia) of Mideast peace makers may formally
recognize a Palestinian state."
- Both sides agreed to a September 2011 resolution, but
talks broke down over settlement expansions. Netanyahu blamed the victims,
saying seeking UN General Assembly recognition "pushes peace further
back." He's the same man who earlier called peace talks "a waste
- On April 20, Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) writer
Chana Ya'ar headlined, "PLO: Israel's Peace Plan is 'Re-occupation,'
- PLO officials "had nothing but scorn in response
to the idea of Israel formulating a new plan for peace (that) shows it
to be little more than a reinvention" of occupation, annexation and
control rather than a genuine peace effort, according to senior PLO member
Hanan Ashrawi, saying:
- "There will be no negotiation without a cessation
of all settlement activities, without clear terms of reference in conformity
with international law, and without a binding time line."
- She added that Quartet recognition of Palestinian sovereignty
is no substitute for General Assembly approving it in September, which
the PA has vowed to seek.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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