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Arab League Backs Abbas on Recognition of Israel

Israel’s demand that it be recognized as a Jewish state is an “attempt to foil the talks”, claims head of Arab League.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/10/2014, 3:15 AM

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi
Reuters

The Arab League on Sunday backed Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Al-Arabiya reports.

The head of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, reportedly urged Arab countries to take a “firm stand” against Israel’s demand for the PA to recognize it as a Jewish state.

Speaking at the Arab Foreign Ministers meeting in Cairo, Elaraby described Israel’s demand as an “attempt to foil the talks” and called for a reevaluation of the negotiation track.

The comments were made just two days after Abbas stood his ground and reiterated that he will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Speaking to youth activists of his Fatah party, Abbas unequivocally declared that there is "no way" he will recognize Israel as a Jewish state and accept a Palestinian capital in just a portion of eastern Jerusalem.

"They are pressing and saying, 'No peace without the Jewish state,"' he said. "There is no way. We will not accept.”

Abbas’s comments were merely confirmation of what was several months ago confirmed to be the PA’s formal stance on recognizing Israel.

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.

On Saturday, the U.S. State Department seemed to back Abbas’s stance, when its spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the United States believes there is no need for the PA to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as part of a peace agreement.

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.”

The comments came 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.