JERUSALEM (JTA) – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he will never recognize a Jewish state and that capturing Gilad Shalit was a "good thing."
Abbas made the remarks in an Oct. 23 interview on the Egyptian television channel Dream 2. A transcript of the interview was published in an Oct. 31 report by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.
"They started talking to me about the ‘Jewish state’ only two years ago, discussing it with me at every opportunity, every forum I went to — Jewish or non-Jewish — asking: ‘What do you think about the "Jewish state"?’ I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I will never recognize the Jewishness of the state, or a ‘Jewish state,’ ” Abbas said.
In response to a question about whether it was "the resistance" that freed more than 1,000 prisoners in the swap for Gilad Shalit, Abbas responded, "Hamas kidnapped — or rather, captured — a soldier, and managed to keep him for five years, and that is a good thing. We don’t deny it. On the contrary, it’s a good thing that on a small strip of land, 40-by-7 kilometers, they were able to keep him and hide him."