70 per cent of Israelis believe the country should accept a U.N. vote in favour of the move.

A recent poll conducted by the Hebrew University found that 70 per cent of Israelis believe that if the U.N. votes in favour of a Palestinian state, Israel should accept the decision. This is not the position of the Israeli government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists there can be no peace if the Palestinians follow a unilateral path at the U.N. On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama threw his weight behind this position.

But on Rothschild Boulevard, alternative Israeli voices are being raised. More than 80 prominent Israeli intellectuals gathered outside Independence Hall on Thursday. They were led by author Sefi Rachlevski, to declare their support for a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.

“We will have an effect because we represent the real Jewish Zionist heritage and what we're saying is obvious: Palestine, you don't need our permission to have a state,” said Mr. Rachlevski.

Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer was among signatories to the declaration. But he warned it would be met with an armed rebellion by the rightwing, nationalist orthodox minority: “They pose the real danger to Israel.” As the intellectuals launched their protest, at the opposite end of Rothschild, a few dozen tents and a thriving herb garden were all that remained of Israel's summer of demos. This was the hub of a nationwide call for change that rallied thousands of Israelis.

Protest leader Dror Shalom, 35, said: “Palestine is a country and it has been for years. We know where the Palestinian state will be, which is exactly where it is now.” “We love Israel and are worried about the direction it is headed.” — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2011

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