Monday, April 27, 2009

Recognition of 'Jewish state' is crucial

J Post staff
The Foreign Ministry on Monday evening responded to remarks made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who said that he refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and stressed that Palestinian recognition of the Jewish nature of the country is a crucial step in the peace process. "Recognizing Israel as the sovereign state of the Jewish people is a crucial and necessary stage in the historical reconciliation process between Israelis and the Palestinians," the ministry said in a statement. "The sooner the Palestinians internalize this basic fact, the sooner the peace between our nations will progress."

Earlier Monday, Abbas delivered a tough speech on peace-making, rejecting Israeli demands that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, saying it was not his job to define the state of Israel.

"Name yourself, it's not my business," he said. "All I know is that there is the state of Israel, in the borders of 1967, not one centimeter more, not one centimeter less. Anything else, I don't accept," said Abbas.

The PA president also stated that Israel was defined by the borders it had before the Six Day War and no more.

In previous talks, negotiators had discussed the idea of a land swap that would enable Israel to keep some West Bank land.

Abbas also said Monday that a complete settlement freeze was a prerequisite for resuming talks and that he would not give in to possible Israeli or international pressure on the Palestinians to resume negotiations even if such construction continues.

"For sure, we won't submit to pressures. For example, if they say 'come and then we'll see, come.' No, we won't accept. Regarding the peace talks, this is our position, even if someone, if anyone in the world, says 'you're wrong,'" he said.

The Palestinian leader's comments drew an angry response from Israel. "This is more evidence that the Palestinians are not interested in true peace with Israel," Likud MK Ofer Akunis said.

On Sunday evening, Abbas urged the United States to push Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government into accelerating the peace process.

Speaking to a Jordanian television station, Abbas questioned the US commitment to peace in the Middle East and warned Israel that if it refuses to make peace with the Palestinian people, it will be responsible for destabilizing the security and politics of the entire region.

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