JERUSALEM, April 19 (UPI) -- A group of Israeli artists, academics and writers have chosen Passover week to issue a statement of support for an independent Palestinian state.
Yaron Ezrahi, a political scientist at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and one of the signers, said the holiday honors "freedom and independence" as it celebrates the Jews' escape from captivity in Egypt, The New York Times reported. The statement is to be formally released Wednesday.
"The land of Israel is the birthplace of the Jewish people where its identity was shaped," the statement begins. "The land of Palestine is the birthplace of the Palestinian people where its identity was formed."
The statement calls for an independent Palestinian state based on Israel's 1967 borders. That would mean giving up the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Palestinian leaders have said they will only return to peace talks if Israel agrees on the border question. They have said if there is no movement by September they will try to win recognition for a state independently.
By Tuesday, at least 60 people had signed, more than 20 of them winners of the Israel Prize. A similar but more detailed statement was released two weeks ago signed by leaders in business and security.