Mahmoud Abbas reiterated the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
“The Palestinians do not accept the formula that the State of Israel is a Jewish state,” the Palestinian Authority president said Saturday after visiting Cairo on his way home from the Annapolis peace conference. “We say that Israel exists, and in Israel there are Jews and there are those who are not Jews.”
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that coexistence with a future Palestinian state will only be possible if it acknowledges Israel as the Jewish homeland. This demand, though endorsed by President Bush at last week’s talks in Annapolis, has been roundly rejected by Palestinian and other Arab leaders, raising hackles in Israel.
Abbas said the Palestinian Authority will set about implementing its obligations under the 2003 peace “road map” of cracking down on terrorist groups, but he said Israel must reciprocate.
“We will meet the demands that have been presented to us, and it is incumbent upon the Israelis to meet their obligations, particularly with respect to ending settlement activity, removing settler outposts and restoring the Palestinian institutions to east Jerusalem,” he said.