Jerusalem, Apr. 19 (ANI): The Palestinian Authority and the Hamas have rejected Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's precondition for peace talks that the Palestinians recognize his country as a Jewish state. Netanyahu made the demand during a meeting with US special Middle East envoy George Mitchell.
Mitchell met PA President Mahmoud Abbas and other top officials in Ramalla. He was urged to pressurize the new Israeli government to accept the two-state solution and honor all agreements signed with Israel as a precondition for resuming the peace talks.
Hamas also rejected the demand, calling it a "dangerous idea" and warning the PA leadership against accepting it, the Jerusalem post reports.
"We reject Netanyahu's demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This demand illustrates the racist nature of Israel and the extremist policies of its government. It also shows that Israel is not serious about making peace with its neighbors," Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official closely associated with Abbas, said.He added that the PA would not resume the peace talks until Israel halted all settlement activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The PA claimed that Netanyahu's demand was aimed at transferring the Palestinians to another country.
"No Palestinian leader can ever accept this demand even if the whole world recognizes Israel as a Jewish state. The state of Israel belongs to all its citizens, the Palestinians owners of the land and the Jews living there," Omar al-Ghul, an adviser to PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, said.
Hafez Barghouti, editor of the PA's daily mouthpiece, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, said that Netanyahu's demand was aimed at expelling the Arab citizens of Israel and turning Jerusalem into a Jewish city."Netanyahu wants to replace the Palestinian kaffiyeh with a Jewish kippa. This is an irrational and absurd request. No country in the world has ever demanded that it be recognized on the basis of its religion and not political entity," he said. (ANI)