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PA, PLO Disagree on Welcoming All Faiths

The Palestinian Authority and the PLO are not on the same page regarding whether their hoped-for state will welcome "people of all faiths."
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 9/15/2011, 1:06 PM

PA Religious Endowments Minister Mahmoud al-Habash
PA Religious Endowments Minister Mahmoud al-Habash
Flash 90 / Issam Rimawi

The Palestinian Authority and the PLO are not on the same page regardling whether their hoped-for new state will welcome people of all faiths.

The Palestinian Authority has issued a “welcome to all faiths” in direct contradiction to a statement earlier in the day by the Palestine Liberation Organization ambassador to the United Nations.

It is the PLO that legally is entrusted with the task of requesting United Nations recognition of the PA as a new country, and acceptance of the entity as a member into the ranks. The request is expected to be submitted on September 20, the first day of the U.N. General Assembly's three-day opening session.

PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habash told reporters Thursday that the hoped-for PA state is to welcome members of all faiths. He added in a conversation with the Hebrew-language daily Yediot Acharonot that any media attempts to manipulate anti-Jewish statements are “politically motivated.”

However, PLO Ambassador to the United States, Maen Rashid Areikat, told reporters Tuesday in Washington that the organization opposes the presence of Jews and homosexuals in a future PA state.

In response, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quick to point out, “The Palestinian Authority has adopted the German idea of Judenrein.”

Lieberman urged the international community to remember the comments when it considers its vote on statehood for the entity at the United Nations General Assembly session next week, IDF Army Radio reported.