Palestinians won’t recognize Israel: Fatah leader

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

A top Palestinian official has denounced the Israeli premier’s demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Nabil Shaath, a leader of the Palestinian Fatah movement, said on Tuesday that Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand for such recognition, and his insistence on maintaining Israeli troops along the Jordan Valley in a future Palestinian state, were “totally rejected.”

Speaking to AFP, he said Netanyahu’s speech was tantamount to “an official announcement of a unilateral end to negotiations.”

Earlier in the day, Netanyahu told the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that Tel Aviv wants an accord to resolve the conflict with Palestinians, but they must first recognize Israel as a Jewish state — a demand which Palestinians reject.

On Sunday, Shaath had called on Israel to halt settlement activities and release Palestinian prisoners, if it wants to extend the talks, which are set to end in April.

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators began a fresh round of talks in July 2013. Since the resumption of the direct talks, Palestinians have objected to a number of issues, including the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks broke down in 2010 after the Tel Aviv regime refused to halt its settlement construction.

On Monday, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released data showing that Tel Aviv began to work on 2,534 settlement units in the year 2013, compared to 1,133 in 2012.

Israel’s settlement construction remains one of the main obstacles to the regional peace.

(Source / 04.03.2014)

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