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Israeli Intellectuals for Palestinian Independence

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Israeli Intellectuals for Palestinian Independence - by Stephen Lendman

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:

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"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!"

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"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)."

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"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."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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