JERUSALEM - A group of 17 winners of the prestigious Israel Prize are calling for the creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, according to a copy of a petition on Wednesday.
The laureates plan to sign the petition, also inked by several dozen other Israeli artists and intellectuals, on Thursday, in a symbolic ceremony in front of the building where the state of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948.
Among the petition's prominent signatories are Menachem Yaari, the former president of Israel Academy of Sciences, Shulamit Aloni, the founder of the leftist Meretz party and Danny Karavan, a painter and sculptor.
All three are winners of the Israel Prize, which is considered the Jewish state's highest honour and is awarded each year in several fields, including for contribution to the nation.
The petition comes as Palestinian officials say they are increasingly determined to seek United Nations recognition for a state within the borders that existed before the start of the 1967 Six Day War, to include the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
"We are here to welcome the expected announcement of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, according to the borders of our Independence, fixed during the 1949 armistice," the petition reads.
The armistice marked the end of the first Israeli-Arab war, which resulted in the birth of the Israeli state on borders that did not change until the Six Day War.
The petition warns ending Israeli occupation is the only way to fulfil the terms of the UN partition resolution, which passed a year before Israel declared independence and called for the creation of a democratic Jewish nation and a democratic Arab nation.
"The complete end of the occupation is an essential condition of the liberation of the two peoples," the petition reads.