Israeli PM Netanyahu responded to Abbas’ refusal saying “It is absurd to think that in an agreement in which we will recognize the nation-state of the Palestinian people they will not recognize the Jewish state.”
The Arab League on Sunday has given its seal of approval to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal to meet Israel’s demand to recognize it as a Jewish state.
The issue is a key Israeli demand, which will likely be included in the framework agreement that US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to present to the sides at the end of April.
“The council of the Arab League confirms its support for the Palestinian leadership in its effort to end the Israeli occupation over Palestinian lands, and emphasizes its rejection of recognizing Israel as a ‘Jewish state’,” the body said in a statement.
According to a report by Palestinian News Agency Wafa, published Friday, Abbas told students from his Fatah movement in Ramallah on Thursday that he was ready to withstand US pressure on the issue, just as he coped with US pressure on him not to seek statehood status at the UN.
Abbas also said he would never agree to the US-proposed solution on the final status of Jerusalem, which suggests that the Palestinian Authority will receive sections of East Jerusalem as its capital.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Abbas’ remarks saying “It is absurd to think that in an agreement in which we will recognize the nation-state of the Palestinian people they will not recognize the Jewish state.”
On Saturday, the leader promised that he would not forcibly evacuate settlements as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians, while expressing deep doubt over the other side’s willingness to reach such an agreement.
In an interview to Israel’s Channel 2 news, Netanyahu pledged that there would be “no act of forced evacuation,” while acknowledging that not all the existing settlements would remain in Israel’s hands.
“Clearly, not all of the settlements will be included in the agreement, everyone understands that. I will make sure only the bare minimum will not be included,” stressed Netanyahu. “I will take care of every Israeli that lives in the West Bank.”
“First of all let’s see whether the Palestinians even agree to enter negotiations,” said Netanyahu . “From what I’m seeing they are very very far from being at that point. They think they can return to their oppositional route, make unrealistic demands and go to the UN, and distance themselves from difficult questions like: what they are willing to give up, whether they will recognize a Jewish Israel, how they capitulate on the right of return and how they see the end of the conflict.”
The prime minister glossed over questions as to Israel’s own concessions, preferring instead to focus on the Palestinians unwillingness to compromise.
“At the end of the day, the central question is whether or not they are ready to recognize the state of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people. If you don’t have that central component, why go ahead? to keep the dregs of an agreement?” asked Netanyahu. “What are we talking about here? Are we expected to create a Palestinian state that will carry on the struggle against Israel from improved borders? We may be many things but we are not suckers.”
Netanyahu also addressed the issue of international pressure on Israel to cease settlement construction and reach a peace agreement, saying it did not play into his decision making.
View original i24NEWS publication at: http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/140309-arab-league-backs-abbas-s-refusal-to-recognize-israel-as-jewish-state