Erekat: we won’t recognise Israel as Jewish state

By Rosa Doherty, February 11, 2014

The Palestinian Authority’s senior peace negotiator, Saeb Erekat, has set out an intransigent position ahead of the upcoming attempt to propose a framework for peace talks.

Mr Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio yesterday “I told Minister Livni in Munich recently that we won’t change our history, culture and religion. We are not going to recognise Israel as a Jewish state.”

The Palestinian negotiator’s comment came in response to a statement by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who told the Jewish Home Minister Uri Orbach after her meeting with Mr Erekat that he should “expect to be surprised” over the PA’s willingness to acknowledge a Jewish state.

Earlier this month, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas “knows that there will not be a deal without recognition of the nation-state.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to include the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state in his framework for final status talks.

PA Religious Affairs Minister Mahmoud al-Habash told Channel Ten yesterday that the Western Wall in Jerusalem must be placed under Palestinian sovereignty in a peace agreement.

He said: “The Buraq Wall too will be under Palestinian sovereignty,” adding “every inch” of territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War must be handed back to the Palestinians.

Israeli leaders across the political spectrum oppose his position.

Last updated: 10:50am, February 11 2014