The United States believes there is no need for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as part of a peace agreement, State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Saturday.
Psaki, who spoke to the PA-based Arabic-language Al-Quds newspaper, said, “The American position is clear, Israel is a Jewish state. However, we do not see a need that both sides recognize this position as part of the final agreement.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been adamant on the PA recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, explaining that the Arabs’ refusal to recognize Israel stands at the heart of the conflict.
The PA has already formally refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, stating that "the Arab states will never recognize a Jewish state." PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas reiterated this position on Friday, when he told young members of his Fatah movement that “there is no way” he would recognize Israel.
Psaki’s comments come ahead of a trip by Abbas to Washington on March 17, where he will meet President Barack Obama as part of the U.S. push to achieve a peace agreement between the sides.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who has made it his mission to achieve a peace agreement, is currently working on a framework that will allow him to continue the talks past the April deadline that has been set.
The same Al-Quds newspaper reported last week that Israel and the PA have already received copies of Kerry’s framework.
Psaki would not directly respond when asked by the newspaper if the sides had indeed received the framework, but stressed, “The framework agreement has not yet been finalized. Therefore any publications about it are pure speculation.”