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      PA: Recognition of Israel as Jewish State a 'Provocation'

      The Palestinian Authority rejects as "provocation" a condition to recognize Israel as a Jewish State before resuming talks for its own statehood.
      By Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 4/17/2009, 10:07 AM

      Israel News Photo: (file)

      The Palestinian Authority has rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s condition for moving ahead on negotiations to establish “two states for two peoples.”

      PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh on Thursday night slammed Netanyahu’s insistence that the PA first accept the concept of Israel as a Jewish State before Israel continues talks to establish a new Arab country within its current borders.

      Netanyahu told United States Middle East envoy George Mitchell earlier in the evening that Israel is willing to discuss the creation of a PA State – but only if the PA recognizes Israel as a Jewish State.

      “Israel expects the Palestinians to first recognize Israel as a Jewish State before talking about two states for two peoples,” Netanyahu said.

      The Fatah-led PA government based in Ramallah has agreed in the past to recognize Israel, but not as a Jewish State.

      Abu Rudaineh called Netanyahu’s words a “provocation” and claimed that the new Israeli government was placing obstacles before the “solution” of two states for two peoples being promoted by the United States.

      The aide to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called on the international community to examine Israeli policy, charging that it might have a “poisonous effect” on the region.

      The Hamas-led breakaway PA government in Gaza, meanwhile, still refuses to recognize Israel at all, referring to the Jewish State only as “the Zionist entity” whenever it must discuss Israel.

      Mitchell was also warned by Netanyahu that the “two-state solution” promoted by America requires the cooperation of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

      The prime minister told the U.S. envoy that Israel must have guarantees that a new PA state will not turn Judea and Samaria into a terrorist enclave as Hamas terrorists have already done in Gaza.

      Mitchell is meeting on Friday with Abbas, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and other PA officials.