Nabil Shaath, a senior official in the terror group Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), claimed on Thursday that Israel was "imposing its own agenda" on the US push for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The accusation comes despite reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry has been forcing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to submit to his plans, and further has been wielding the prospect of European boycotts as a threat to force Israeli concessions.
"Israel has succeeded in really persuading Kerry to change the agenda of the discussions," accused Shaath to AFP. "Today, you will see Kerry going back and forth, discussing nothing but two issues. The two issues have never been in our agenda: the Jewishness of the state and (security in) the Jordan (Valley)."
"They (Israelis) force the agenda on (Kerry); they will not talk about anything else," claimed Shaath, who in the past admitted the PA is staying in talks only to free terrorists. "It is a narrative problem that is taking most of the time of Kerry."
The PA formally refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in December. On Monday, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki declared "the Arab states will never recognize a Jewish state."
Kerry's proposed peace deal reportedly would force Israel to obligate itself through guarantees that it will not compromise the status of Israeli Arabs, and in doing so begin "earning" PA recognition of Israel as the state of the Jews.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Netanyahu announced "any agreement must include two fundamental principles: recognition of a Jewish national state and an end to the conflict." Netanyahu reportedly offered to lease Judea and Samaria communities from the PA in a rejected proposal.
Regarding Israel's status as the Jewish state, Shaath quipped "you think any Palestinian leader in his right mind can ever accept this? Or is this simply instated to make it impossible for any Palestinian leader to sign a peace agreement with Israel?"