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A bipartisan group of 60 U.S. lawmakers urged President Clinton to “publicly reaffirm the United States’ position that any unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state” would not be recognized by the United States. Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has said that he would declare statehood in May 1999, regardless of progress in the peace talks. While Clinton has resisted the request from Congress and a similar call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the president said in a recent letter to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that Palestinian statehood “can only be settled through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”