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Fatah Backs Abbas's Refusal to Recognize Israel

The Revolutionary Council of Fatah backs Abbas's "refusal to recognize the Jewishness of the State of Israel."
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/11/2014, 1:16 AM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

The Revolutionary Council of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party on Monday unanimously endorsed his rejection of demands to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, officials at the meeting told AFP.

"President Abbas has reaffirmed his refusal to recognize the Jewishness of the State of Israel and council members stood up to hail this decision," a senior Fatah official said from the meeting in Ramallah.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has insisted that Abbas recognize Israel as a Jewish state in order to reach a peace agreement, explaining that the Arabs’ refusal to recognize Israel stands at the heart of the conflict.

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.

He stood his ground last Friday, saying during a meeting with Fatah youth activists that 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,"' Abbas declared. "There is no way. We will not accept.”

On Sunday, Abbas was backed by the Arab League, as the league’s head, Nabil Elaraby, 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.

On Saturday, the U.S. State Department seemed to back Abbas’s stance as well, 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.”