29 August 2011
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said that the Palestinian Authority would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Adopting a belligerent tone ahead of his planned statehood bid in September, Abbas also criticized demands made by the International Quartet for the Middle East. The chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and president of the Palestinian Authority told a Jordanian newspaper: "Don't order us to recognize a Jewish state. We won't accept it."
In reaction to Abbas’ comments, World Jewish Congress Secretary General Dan Diker said that "as a good Muslim", Abbas would never be able to accept Israel as a Jewish state in the Middle East because according to Sharia law land conquered by Islam could never be relinquished. In an interview on ‘IBA News’, Diker said there was hence “no possibility culturally” for Israel to be recognized “at any time as the nation state of the Jewish people.”
Speaking to 'Arutz Sheva', Hebron Mukhtar Sheikh Abu Hader Jaabari confirmed this viewpoint. Islam forbids Arab leaders from ceding any part of the land that is considered holy, he said, and therefore, any kind of land compromise with Israel was not valid from a religious point of view.
Reacting to Abbas, Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Palestinian leader’s statement proved that “The real intention of the Palestinians is not to establish a state that will live in peace alongside Israel, but rather the establishment of a state free of Jews in [the West Bank] and the hostile takeover of Israel from within." Lieberman added: "Countries around the world must make it clear to Abbas that the only way the Palestinians will be able to have a state is by stopping their attempt to destroy the only Jewish state in the world.”
Meanwhile, at a meeting in Ramallah, EU foreign affairs supremo Catherine Ashton reportedly told Abbas that while the European Union did not object to the Palestinian's UN bid per se, its final position in the matter would be determined according to the bid's content and phrasing. Ashton further said that a real solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians could only be achieved through negotiations.
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