London, Jan.25 (ANI): Palestinian negotiators privately agreed with Israel to define the latter as a Jewish state in sharp contrast to their public position, confidential documents leaked by Al Jazeera TV reveal.
According to the leaked information, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) also agreed that only 10, 000 refugees and their families, out of a total refugee population exceeding five million, could return to Israel as part of a peace settlement.
The latest disclosures from thousands of pages of secret Palestinian records of more than a decade of failed peace talks, follow a day of shock and protests in the West Bank, where Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders angrily denounced the leaks as a "propaganda game".
According to The Guardian, the documents have already become the focus of controversy among Israelis and Palestinians, revealing the scale of official Palestinian concessions rejected by Israel, but also throwing light on the huge imbalance of power in a peace process widely seen to have run into the sand.
On the issue of accepting Israel as an explicitly Jewish state, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat privately told Israeli negotiators: "If you want to call your state the Jewish state of Israel you can call it what you want."
He also told his staff privately that it was a "non-issue".
But publicly PA leaders reject any ethnic or religious definition of Israel, and it is fiercely opposed by many of Israel's 1.3 million Palestinian citizens, who see it as a threat to their own civil and national rights, particularly since there have been moves in Israel to introduce a loyalty oath along the same lines. (ANI)