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Palestinian envoy to peace talks rebuffs Livni: We won't recognize Israel as a Jewish state

February 10, 2014 18:31

Saeb Erekat makes statement to Voice of Palestine radio following reports that Livni said the Palestinians would "surprise" on issue.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat [file].

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat 370. (photo credit:REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)

The Palestinian Authority reiterated Monday its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The announcement came in response to statements attributed to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to the effect that the PA is ready to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

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Livni’s comments were made at a meeting of the Israeli government’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation, Ma’ariv reported.

Livni, who heads the Israeli negotiating team with the PA, implied during the meeting that the PA may change its position on the issue of Israel’s Jewish character.

Lvini told Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach (Bayit Yehudi) that he should “expect to be surprised” regarding the PA’s willingness to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Livni was reacting to Orbach’s assertion that the Palestinians would never accept Israel as a Jewish state.

But Erekat, head of the PA negotiating team, told the Voice of Palestine radio station that the Palestinians would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Erekat said that the Palestinians had already recognized Israel in 1993.

“I told minister Livni in Munich recently that we won’t change our history, culture and religion,” Erekat said. “We are not going to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

Erekat said that the direct peace talks have stopped. He added that US Secretary of State John Kerry and his team were now negotiating separately with the PA and the Israeli government.

Erekat also denied that the PA leadership would agree to an extension of the peace talks beyond the nine-month timetable, which expires on April 29.

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  • Israel
  • Tzipi Livni
  • saeb erekat
  • palestine peace talks
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