Dozens of right-wing activists also gathered on the scene Thursday for a counter-protest, and called the protesters "traitors".
Police have set up a divide between the two sides, but the protests on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard quickly came to blows.
Rightists waved Israeli flags and called out "Jewish Nazi" and "traitor" at actress Hanna Maron, who attempted to read out the declaration prepared by organizers. They also called the leftists a "fifth column" and some called out, "You forgot about the children who were slaughtered in Itamar."
Meanwhile camera crews, among them journalists from various Arab news agencies, stood by as Maron spoke. "Sixty-three years ago Israel's Declaration of Independence was read out here. The declaration extended a hand of peace to all of our neighbors," she said.
"It is the natural right of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples to be as all other nations – to stand independently in their nation state," she added.
The organizers of the event are a number of artists and academicians who have recently published petitions warning of the rise of "fascism" in the Israeli government. Among them are former Minister Shulamit Aloni, author Sami Michael, and filmmaker Ari Folman.
Actress Hannah Maron reads declaration (Photo: Ofer Amram)
"We have gathered here today, on April 21, 2011, to welcome the expected declaration of independence of the Palestinian state, Israel's neighbor, with our borders of independence – which came into being at the end of the War of Independence in 1949 – the borders known as the '67 borders," a document drawn up by the left-wing activists says.
"The independence of both states strengthens each other. It is a moral and existential need and the basis for the possibility of good neighborly relations."
The document adds, "We call on the citizens of Israel, the Knesset, the government, citizens of the world and their governments to recognize two states, in which the right to self-definition must be expressed by
both peoples as well as the general principles of democracy and equality."
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon responded to the initiative. "Moves like these only lessen the chances of a truce and the establishment of a Palestinian state, and create false hopes among the Palestinians that they can establish a state one-sidedly and without negotiating with Israel. It would be better for the protesters to convince Palestinian leaders to come to the negotiations table," he said.
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