Moral Low Ground

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‘The Moral High Ground’: 5,000 Israelis March in Support of Palestinian Statehood

Five thousand Israelis marched through the streets of Tel Aviv Saturday to demand an independent state for the Palestinian people. The Jerusalem Post reports that the lively crowd marched from Rabin Square all the way to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, where they held a rally at which numerous members of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) spoke.

The crowd carried Israeli and Palestinian flags and chanted slogans like “ISRAEL AND PALESTINE: TWO STATES FOR TWO PEOPLES” as it made its way to the museum area.

The protest was organized by various different progressive organizations and political parties, among these the Hadash party, Meretz, Peace Now, the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement and the Geneva Initiative. The impetus for the demonstration was US President Barack Obama’s call for a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders and mutual land swaps.

“Netanyahu says no– we say yes to a Palestinian state” and “A Palestinian state is an Israeli interest” were the two official slogans of the event.

“Netanyahu is leading us toward disaster,” Knesset member Dov Khenin (Hadash party) warned, saying Israel is not immune from the unrest sweeping the region.

Support from the United States should not be equated with wise policy, others asserted. “[Former Prime Minister] Golda Meir also received an ovation in the United States,” Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On said, referring to the thunderous applause received by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he addressed a joint session of Congress on May 24. “[Meir] refused [former Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat’s request for negotiations over the Sinai Peninsula and brought us the Yom Kippur War– 3,000 people were killed and in the end, all of Sinai was returned,” she said. “Land can be returned,” she added. “The dead cannot. Therefore, it’s difficult for us to be excited by the applause Netanyahu received in Congress. Applause there cannot protect us here.”

There was, of course, the usual reactionary backlash against the protesters. Counter-protests were held at numerous locations along the march route, with some people wrapped in Israeli flags shouting “terrorists” and “traitors” at the marchers.

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