JERUSALEM (JTA) — Mahmoud Abbas said he will not compromise during peace negotiations on core issues such as final borders and the status of Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Authority president also said in an interview with the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds newspaper that he rejects Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that he recognize Israel as a Jewish state. He said the issue is a ploy by Netanyahu to deny Israeli Arabs the right of return to their former homes in Israel.
Meanwhile, Abbas told reporters late Monday that he has asked the United States "to intervene on the settlement issue" and prevent Netanyahu from lifting a 10-month freeze on construction in the West Bank.
Israel has said it will not extend the freeze, which is scheduld to end Sept. 26, though it may only lift the freeze in settlement blocs that are likely to remain with Israel in a final peace deal. Abbas has said he will quit the peace negotiations if the freeze does not remain in place.