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Palestinian in Rafah succumbs to wounds inflicted by Israeli forces
Fatah endorses refusal to recognize Israel as 'Jewish state'
Published Tuesday 11/03/2014 (updated) 11/03/2014 12:34
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President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting at the
parliament in Vilnius on October 22, 2013.(AFP/Petras Malukas)
RAMALLAH (AFP) -- The Revolutionary Council of President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday unanimously endorsed his rejection of demands to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state," officials at the meeting told AFP.

"President Abbas has reaffirmed his refusal to recognize the Jewishness of the State of Israel and council members stood up to hail this decision," a senior Fatah official said from the meeting in Ramallah.

Abbas said in his speech to delegates that "at 79 years old, he wasn't going to back down on his people's rights or betray their cause," despite the "great pressure being exerted," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made recognizing Israel as a "Jewish state" a central issue of peace negotiations, calling it the root of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

Palestinians reject that claim, underlining that they already recognized Israel in 1993 and saying that enshrining it as a "Jewish state" would jeopardize the rights of the around 20 percent of Israeli citizens who are of Palestinian descent, in addition to the Palestinian refugees' right to return home.

Abbas is to travel to the United States on an official visit next week, including a meeting with US President Barack Obama on March 17.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has been leading the latest push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, prodding the two sides to sign a "framework agreement" on definitively resolving issues that have long troubled negotiations, including borders, Israeli settlements, security, the status of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.

The US has appeared to back the recognition of Israel as a "Jewish state," but the State Department insisted Friday that the issue was still up for negotiation.

"If you look at the issue of a Jewish state and whether Israel will be called a Jewish state, that's been our position, as you know, for a long time, but that doesn't reflect what the parties will agree to ... and of course there are many issues like that that are being discussed as part of the framework," said spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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1 ) Rami / Palestine
11/03/2014 11:36
Egypte never declared Israel as a Jewish state and yet peace was made. Jordan never declared Israel a Jewish state and yet peace was made. No other nation in the world has ever been asked to sign a document declaring Israel as a Jewish state. Ask the United States if they have ever signed such an accord. The answer is no. Neither have have the EU. This is an excuse for Israel to walk away from the negotiations in favor of continue annexation of remaining Palestinian land which is what they want.

2 ) Rachamim Dwek / Israel
12/03/2014 01:29
To Rami@#1: Only Palestinians are demanding all the land. The PA seal includes 100% of the land w. of Jordan. The PA consistently reiterates that a 2 State Agmnt. will merely be an internediate step towards gaining ALL land. Moreover, Jordan and Egypt fully recognise Israel's right TO exist. Palestinians have merely accepted that it exists as a fact. Tad bit different. Accepting Israel's Jewish Character is an acknowledgement of the right to exist.
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