JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, its president, Mahmoud Abbas said.
"Don’t order us to recognize a Jewish state. We won’t accept it," Abbas warned the international community on Saturday.
Abbas also said Saturday in a speech to Muslim leaders in Ramallah that the P.A.’s statehood bid at the United Nations is not an attempt to isolate Israel or to ignite conflict with the United States. He said that the Palestinians would abandon the plan to go to the U.N. if Israel stops settlement construction and accepts the 1967 lines as the basis for negotiations on a two-state solution.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Abbas’ refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state "reveals the true nature of the September motion: A Palestinian state to come in place of a Jewish state." He charged that the Palestinians want "a state free of Jews in Judea and Samaria, and a hostile takeover of Israel from within."
Abbas met over the weekend with the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton. It was Ashton’s last-ditch attempt to bring the Palestinians and Israel together for peace negotiations before the September United Nations meeting. Abbas reportedly told Ashton that the U.N. bid will not stop the progress of peace negotiations. Ashton said that the E.U.’s final decision on supporting the statehood bid would depend on the content of the resolution.
Ashton was also scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders.
"Following the recent tragic events in Israel and Gaza, it is more important than ever that the parties return to the negotiating table," Ashton said in an Aug. 26. E.U. statement.