The end of Israel's rule over the Palestinian people and the establishment of a stable and prosperous Palestinian state are not only in the Palestinians' interest. They are also in Israel's vital interest. The end of the occupation will enable the two peoples to live a normal life. It will also solve the grave social problems that have been pushed aside in both societies. The military victory of 1967 will turn into a disaster if we can't convert the territorial gains into mutual recognition and peace. Unless we withdraw from the occupied lands there will be no peace or security here.
In this part of the world there are two borders that are now recognized internationally and regionally: the international border between us and the Arab states, and the border of June 1967 between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians accept this border. Not only that, they have shown a readiness to demilitarize the Palestinian state in relation to heavy weapons, to recognize the annexation of the ring of Israeli suburbs built in Jerusalem, and other changes in the 1967 border, on the basis of a mutual agreement, and lands swap. The concept of sacredness of Jewish settlement in the territories prevents the possibility of creating a viable Palestinian state. Some ten million Israelis and Palestinians must not be held hostage by the settlements. Barak's government has not dismantled even one settlement. It has invested even more than Netanyahu's government in developing and strengthening the settlements. If this is not a lack of honesty, it is a lack of wisdom. Leaving the settlements in position and expanding them prevents any possibility of drawing a sensible border between Israel and Palestine. In fact, it means the conflict will go on forever.
We call upon the Israeli government to announce a freeze in its settlement policy and to recognize the border of June 4, 1967, as the basis for the border between Israel and Palestine. A mutually agreed-upon exchange of land is the best way to solve the problem of borders. Most settlements will have to be evacuated. We call upon the Palestinian leadership to announce its readiness to settle the conflict not by violence, but by negotiations aimed at peace and full coexistence.

Arie Lova Eliav
Samech Izhar
Amos Oz
Arie Arnon
A.B. Yehoshua
Sami Samocha
Haim Be'er
Meni Mountner
Eli Amir
Dan Bar-On
Ronit Matalon
David (Dave) Kimche
Shlomo Gazit
Moshe Maoz
Nissim Calderon
David Grossman
Yehoshua Kenaz
Ephraim Kleiman
Shulamit Volkov
Arie Nadler
Menachem Klein
Nathan Zach
Emanuel Sivan
Aviad Kleinberg
Ha'aretz, November 17, 2000