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Tel Aviv University
ANAT BILETZKI (TAU, philosophy) demands that "intellectuals" recognize the Palestinian "Right to Return" - free swimming lessons for the Jews?

Activists, intellectuals, recognize the Right to Return
The following documen't was written in a series of meetings in Givat Olga, and titled after the location, The Olga Documen't. List of endorsers follows. To endorse this call, email ye_harel@netvision.net.il
Prof. Anat Biletzki, Andre Draznin, Haim Hanegbi, Yehudith Harel, Michel (Micado) Warschawski, Oren Medicks

English version: oznik-news

12 Jul. 2004
For Truth and Reconciliation, For Equality and Partnership
The State of Israel was supposed to grant security to Jews; it has created a death-trap whose inhabitants live in constant danger, the likes of which is not experienced by any other Jewish community;
The State of Israel was supposed to tear down the walls of the ghetto; it is now constructing the biggest ghetto in the entire history of the Jews;
The State of Israel was supposed to be a democracy; it has set up a colonial structure, combining unmistakable elements of apartheid with the arbitrariness of brutal military occupation.
Israel, 2004, is a state on the road to nowhere. Fifty-six years after its establishment - notwithstanding its many achievements in agriculture, science and technology, and albeit a great regional military power, armed with doomsday weapons - many of its citizens are heartsick with existential worry and fear for their future.

Since its foundation Israel has lived by its sword. An incessant succession of "retaliations", military operations and wars has become the life-support drug of Israel's Jews. And now, almost four years after the beginning of the second Palestinian Intifada, Israel is up to its neck in the mire of occupation and oppression, while it goes on extending the settlements and multiplying the outposts, repeating to itself ad nauseam that "we have no partner for peace".

Ten years after the Oslo Accords, we are living in a benighted colonial reality - in the heart of darkness. Thirty-seven years after Israel conquered the last of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, over three and a half million Palestinians under its rule are penned up in their towns and villages. The term "Palestinian State" - which for years embodied the peace option - is being used by many Israeli politicians as a mirage phrase, a spin on the reality of occupation: "In the future," they whisper with a knowing wink, "the Palestinian entity in the Territories may be called a 'state'." And meanwhile Israel is amplifying the devastation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as if determined to pulverize the Palestinian people to dust.

In the face of the large Israeli camp of supporters of the separation walls - those, both right and left, who are terrified by the demons of demography, constantly counting the populace to find out how many Jews and Arabs are born and die every week, how many Jews and Arabs live in the entire country and in each of its districts every month - it is vital to pose an alternative outlook, based on the following principles:

Coexistence of the peoples of this country, based on mutual recognition, equal partnership and implementation of historical justice.

We are united in a critique of Zionism, based as it is on refusal to acknowledge the indigenous people of this country and on denial of their rights, on dispossession of their lands, and on adoption of separation as a fundamental principle and way of life. Adding insult to injury, Israel persists in its refusal to bear any responsibility for its deeds, from the expulsion of the majority of Palestinians from their homeland more than half a century ago, to the present erection of ghetto walls around the remaining Palestinians in the towns and villages of the West Bank. Thus, wherever Jew and Arab stand together or face each other, a boundary is drawn between them, to separate and distinguish between the blessed and the cursed.

We are united in the recognition that this country belongs to all its sons and daughters - citizens and residents, both present and absentees (the uprooted Palestinian citizens of Israel in 48' ) - with no discrimination on personal or communal grounds, irrespective of citizenship or nationality, religion, culture, ethnicity or gender. Thus we demand the immediate annulment of all laws, regulations and practices that discriminate between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel, and the dissolution of all institutions, organizations and authorities based on such laws, regulations and practices.

We are united in the belief that peace and reconciliation are contingent on Israel's recognition of its responsibility for the injustices done to the indigenous people, the Palestinians, and on willingness to redress them. Recognition of the right of return follows from our principles. Redressing the continued injustice inflicted on the Palestinian refugees, generation after generation, is a necessary condition both for reconciliation with the Palestinian people, as for the spiritual healing of ourselves, Israeli Jews. Only thus shall we stop being plagued by the past's demons and damnations and make ourselves at home in our common homeland.

For many years now, Israeli leaders have been exerting themselves to depict the Palestinians as sub-human; and their exertions have been seconded and assisted by members of the cultural elite, media barons, vain functionaries and light-scribblers, right and left. We reject this racist arrogance with disgust, knowing that the Palestinians, as all other people, are neither devils nor angels, but just like us, are humans, created equal.

We are convinced that if we approach peace and reconciliation with the Palestinians with an open mind and a willing spirit, we shall find in them what we bring with us: an open mind and a willing spirit. For we are brothers and sisters, not eternal enemies as the well-poisoners profess.

It is pointless, now, to guess the material future form of the vision of life together: two states or one?! perhaps a confederation?! or maybe a federation?! and what about cantons?! In any case, the primary condition for advancing the vision of living together is self-evident, both as a supreme moral imperative and as a practical matter of the here and now: an immediate end to the state of occupation.

Only in this way will the Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip be rid of the yoke of settlements, the nightmare of apartheid, the burden of humiliation and the demons of destruction employed by Israel unremittingly, day and night, for 37 years. Only when they are totally free will the Palestinians be able to discuss and decide their future.

We believe that adoption of the principles stated above will lay the foundations on which the people of this country can set up the proper common frameworks for life together. We are not talking of fantasies or of a miracle move that would lead us from our living hell to a heavenly paradise.

We are talking of a road that has not been tried hitherto: being honest with ourselves, with our neighbours and particularly with the Palestinian people - our enemies who are our brothers and sisters. If we muster within ourselves the appropriate honesty and requisite courage, we will be able to take the first step in the long journey that can extricate us from the tangle of denial, repression, distortion of reality, loss of direction and forsaking of conscience, in which the people of Israel have been trapped for generations.

Whoever has eyes to see and ears to hear knows that the choice is between another “hundred years of conflict” ending in annihilation, and a partnership among all the inhabitants of this land. Only such a partnership is capable of turning us, the Jews of Israel, from foreigners in their country to its real inhabitants.


We do not intend to start another movement against the occupation, or another party (platform, institutions, leaders). We seek to start off a genuine public discussion about the Israeli blind alley in which we live and the profound changes needed in order to break out of it. Every Israeli knows that this is not a matter of political trifles, but concerns the fate of the peoples of this country.

Giv'at Olga, June 2004

supporters (updated 13 Aug. 2004):
Dorit Abramovitch
Prof. Amotz Agnon
Ra'anan Alexandrowicz
Ofra Amikam
Nitza Aminov
Prof. Zalman Amit
Dr. Yossi Amitay
Dr. Ofra Anson
Prof. Yonathan (Jon) Anson
Boaz Arad
Adi Arbel
Prof. Mordecai Arieli
Nili Aslan
Michal Aviad
Dr. Adina Aviram
Dr. Ariella Azulay
Dr. Riva Bachrach
Hanna Barag
Haim Baram
Talma Bar Din
Noa Bar-Haim
Ruti Barkai
Osnat Bar-Or
Racheli Bar-Or
Dr. Dalit Baum
Dr. Shiko Behar
Prof. Joel Beinin
Miryam Beinin
Meron Benvenisti
Eldad Benary
Nirit Ben Ari
Yehezkel Ben-Ari
Yael Cnaan
Esther Ben Chur
Smadar Ben Natan
Prof. Zvi Bentwich
Dr. Louise Bethlehem
Dr. Shimshon Bichler
Prof. Anat Biletzki
Prof. Daniel Boyarin
Prof. Victoria Buch
Ido Bruno
Michal Chacham
Ronit Chacham
Lin Chalozin-Dovrat
Dr. Sami Shalom Chetrit
Dr. Raya Cohen
Dr. Mike Dahan
Elias Davidsson
Prof. Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi
Aim Deuelle Luski
Dr. Diana Dolev
Sharon Dolev
Andre Draznin
Dr. Avishai Ehrlich
Dan Erlichman
Tamar Erlichman
Anat Even
Boas Evron
Pnina Feiler
Pnina Firestone
Dr. Alon Friedman
Prof. Ariella Friedmann
Dr. Ido Geiger
Tamar Getter
Avi Gibson Bar-El
Angela Godfrey-Goldstein
Dr. Daphna Golan
Elana Golden
Prof. Oded Goldreich
Racheli Gai
Avner Greenberg
Dr. Neve Gordon
Haggith Gor-Ziv
Prof. Yossi Guttmann
Mirjam Hadar- Meerschwam
Prof. Uri Hadar
Irit Halperin
Tani Halperin
Haim Hanegbi
Ido Harari
Yehudith Harel - Rabinowitz
Avraham Heffner
Yael Heffner
Dr. Talma Hendler
Ilana Herschenberg
Prof. Hannan Hever
Dr. Carola Hilfrich
Michal Hirsh
Prof. Julia Horvath
Amos Israel-Vleeschhouwer
Anat Israeli
Rachel Leah Jones
Ofer Kahana
Kika Kahana
Roni Kalev
Dr. Orit Kamir
Anath Kandell
Einav Katan
Dr. Katalin Katz
Dr. Shoshana Keiny
 Yehudit Keshet
Annelien Kisch
Hannah Knaz
Yael Korin
Elinor Kowarski
Noa Kram
Dr. Ron Kuzar
Orna Lavi
Prof. Ronit Lentin
Hava Lermann
Amit Leshem
Prof. Micah Leshem
Dr. Daphna Levit
Dr. Orly Lubin
Prof. Bezalel Manekin
Dr.Abraham Mansbach
Meir Margalit
Ronit Marian-Kadishay
Dr. Ruchama Marton
Dr. Nina Mayorek
Rela Mazali
Oren Medicks
Gil Medovoy
Remy Mendelzweig
Racheli Merhav
Tsachi Mitsenmacher
Dror Mizrachi
Avi Mograbi
Prof. Ben Tzion Munitz
Rafi Munz
Dr. Dorothy Naor
Susan Nathans
Prof. Judd Ne'eman
Dr.Gulie Neeman Arad
Ofer Neiman
Prof. Ephraim Nimni
Prof. Adi Ophir
Amir Orian
Nora Orlow
Prof. Avraham Oz
Dr. Nurit Peled Elhanan
Dror Peleg
Noa Perelson
Tamara Perry Steinberg
Or Rabinowitz
Dr. Dan Rabinowitz
Dr. Nitzan Rabinowitz
Dr. Uri Ram
Dr.Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin
Dr. Elchanan Reiner
Anat Reisman-Levy
Dan Ritter
Roee Rosen
Yael Roth-Barkai
Catherine Rottenberg
Eddie Saar
Sergeiy Sandler
Nava Schreiber
Herzel Schubert
Prof. Avraham Schweiger
Dr. Shlomi Segall
Michal Sela
Michal Seligman
Batia Seroussi
Ruben Seroussi
Aviva Sharon
David Shasha
Iftach Shavit
Tali Shemesh
Prof. Yehouda Shenhav
Oded Shimshon
Prof. Nomi Shir
Diana Shoef
Dr. Ivy Sichel
Dr. Tali Siloni
Eyal Sivan
Ora Slonim
Kobi Snitz
Orly Soker-Yahel
Benny Steinberg
Hadas Tamir
David Tartakover
Amos Tidhar
Tova Tidhar
Nurit Tolnai
Osnat Trabelsi
Dr. Dudy Tzfati
Dr. Allon Uhlmann
Roman Vater
Dr. Roy Wagner
Michel ( Micado) Warschawski
Dr. David Wesley
Elana Wesley
Dr. Haim Yacobi
Sergio Yahni
Prof. Oren Yiftachel
Dr. Yuval Yonay
Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis
Prof. Moshe Zimmermann
Prof. Moshe Zuckermann
Tair Zvulun


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