WASHINGTON (JTA) — The PLO repeated Mahmoud Abbas’ assertion that the Jews have a history in Palestine and rejected charges that this means Jews have an exclusive claim to the region.
The Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington this week re-released the Palestinian Authority president’s statement delivered in a meeting with Jewish leaders in Washington in June, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported. The statement said: "Nobody denies the Jewish history in the Middle East. A third of our Holy Koran talks about the Jews in the Middle East, in this area. Nobody from our side at least denies that the Jews were in Palestine, were in the Middle East."
The release from the PLO office was in response to a July 22 letter from a number of Palestinian intellectuals who charged that Abbas had accepted "an exclusive Jewish claim to Palestine."
The PLO office said Abbas was merely repeating facts not in dispute; to suggest that it amounted to accepting an "exclusive" Jewish claim helps "sow the seeds of division in the Palestinian people," Ma’an quoted the office as saying.