Palestinians resist recognition demand


The Palestinian Authority took issue with an Israeli demand that it recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Saeb Erekat, a top Palestinian Authority negotiator, came out Monday against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s demand that Israel’s constitutional makeup as a nation-state be recognized so peace talks can progress.

“It is not acceptable for a country to link its national character to a specific religion,” Erekat said in remarks
carried by Israel Radio.

“Besides, 20 percent of Israel’s population is Palestinian,” Erekat added, alluding to Israeli Arabs.

Jerusalem officials said Israel sees the two-state peace formula as predicated on Israel being recognized as a Jewish state and the future Palestine as a Palestinian state.

Erekat’s remarks looked likely to add to disputes that have overshadowed preparations for the upcoming Israeli-Palestinian peace conference in Annapolis, Md.

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