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May 26, 2011

Prominent Israelis Urge Europeans to Support Palestinian Statehood Bid

A group of prominent Israeli figures have signed a letter urging European leaders to support a Palestinian bid for statehood recognition from the United Nations.

Israeli news organizations released contents of the letter on Friday.  It was signed by more than 20 well-known public figures, including former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg, former Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Leil and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman.

The letter says a Palestinian declaration of independence would be a "positive, constructive step" given the "mutual suspicions" and "foot-dragging" by both sides.  The group also pledges to recognize a Palestinian state based primarily on border lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War - a condition opposed by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Earlier this week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vowed to pursue a plan to seek U.N. recognition of statehood if there is no progress in the U.S.-mediated peace talks with Israel by September.

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