Olmert firm on Israel recognition

Any peace process with the Palestinians depends on their recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, Ehud Olmert said.

The Israeli prime minister met E.U. foreign policy official Javier Solana on Wednesday for consultations ahead of the U.S.-hosted peace conference in Annapolis, Md., which has been clouded by Palestinian complaints over Israel’s positions.

Olmert’s office quoted him as telling Solana that “the basis for the post-Annapolis negotiations with the Palestinians will be recognition of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.”

The assertion appeared to come in response to remarks by Palestinian Authority officials this week rejecting Israel’s recognition demand as politically unrealistic and morally unacceptable.

Israel argues that it cannot be expected to help in the creation of a future Palestine that does not demonstrate a desire to coexist with the Jewish nation-state.

“The prime minister made it clear that from Israel’s point of view, this issue is not subject to either negotiations or discussion,” Olmert’s office said in the statement about his talks with Solana.

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