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'Arab States Will Never Recognize a Jewish State'

PA foreign minister: Arab states told Kerry that they fully support the PA's stand that it will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/14/2014, 6:08 AM

PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki
PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki
AFP photo

Arab states “will never recognize Israel”, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) foreign minister stated on Monday, according to NRG/Maariv.

Riyad al-Malki was speaking to Radio Palestine after participating in a weekend meeting in Paris between U.S. Secretary State of John Kerry and foreign ministers of the Arab League.

In the interview, al-Malki said that at the meeting Kerry, who is mediating the talks between Israel and PA, presented some issues raised by both sides. One of these issues, according to al-Malki, is the need for Arab support for the "Jewish character" of Israel. Kerry told the ministers that this issue remains one of the main points over which there is a disagreement.

In response, said al-Malki, the Arab foreign ministers expressed their full support for all the PA’s demands, especially regarding non-recognition of Israel as Jewish state.

“The Arab states will never recognize a Jewish state,” he stressed, according to NRG/Maariv.

He further noted that there is still no progress in the ongoing peace talks and that large gaps remain between the parties.

Al-Malki also said that Kerry still had "hard work" with the Israeli side, in order to reach agreements that will “satisfy the needs of the Palestinians.” He further stressed that the PA insists about the capital of the future Palestinian state being in eastern Jerusalem.

The remarks follow those made by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday. Abbas told a visiting delegation that there will be "no peace between us and Israel" without eastern Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state.

Abbas added that he heard that the Israelis had refused to mention Jerusalem in any talks or negotiations, following reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had announced to senior officials in his government that he won't agree to any division of Jerusalem in framework agreements.

"Let them say whatever they say. Unless it is mentioned clearly and marked in big fonts that it is the capital of the state of Palestine, there will be no peace with them and I want them to hear this," declared Abbas.

Abbas has repeatedly insisted that the PA would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state and has also stressed that the future Palestinian state would not include the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) went even further on Saturday, stating that Israel's demand that the PA recognize it as a Jewish state is an attempt to “legalize racism.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to Abbas’s latest remarks on Monday, telling visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that the comments proved Abbas does not want peace.