The Fatah Revolutionary Council concluded its fifth convention in Ramallah over the weekend by declaring its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The council also urged the Palestinian Authority leadership to work toward foiling a new Israeli law requiring a referendum before any withdrawal from Jerusalem and the Golan Heights that has not been passed by two thirds of the Knesset.

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The Palestinians are opposed to any understandings between Israel and the US that could harm their interests, the council said.

“The council affirms its rejection of the so-called Jewish state or any other formula that could achieve this goal,” said a statement issued by the council.

“The council also renews its refusal for the establishment of any racist state based on religion in accordance with international law and human rights conventions.”

The council made its statement as Israel awaits a document from the US which would set out an incentives package in exchange for a 90-day freeze on new settlement construction based on the terms of the 10- month moratorium on such activity which expired on September 26.

The Palestinians have insisted that Israel must halt all settlement activity before direct negotiations can be resumed.

An Israeli government official on Saturday night called on the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations without any preconditions.

“Let us meet and talk,” he said.

The official said he was disappointed by the council’s statement with respect to a Jewish state.

“I would ask the Palestinians the following question: If the Jewish state is fundamentally illegitimate in your eyes, what sort of peace are you offering us? “It is clear that their refusal to recognize the Jewish state’s legitimacy is the true obstacle to peace and reconciliation,” the official added.

In its statement Saturday, the Fatah council said it was categorically opposed to proposals for a land swap between Israel and the Palestinians under the pretext that “illegal settler gangs can’t be put on an equal footing with the owners of the lands and rights.”

Israel has long assumed that any final status agreement would include land swaps.

The Fatah leaders said they supported PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s policies, especially with regard to the peace process with Israel.

“The council salutes President Mahmoud Abbas for adhering to the basic rights, first and foremost the right of return for Palestinian refugees,” the statement said. “Also, the council salutes President Abbas for standing up against pressure aimed at resuming the peace talks without achieving the demands of the Palestinians.”

The council dismissed plans to supply Israel with weapons in return for reviving the stalled peace talks. It added that the Palestinians would not accept any understandings between Israel and the US which could “harm Palestinian rights and prolong occupation.”

The reported US package of incentives to Israel does not serve the cause of peace, the Fatah council cautioned.


“Such gifts to the occupier will only make the occupier more stubborn and radical.”

Referring to the new Israeli law regarding Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, the council said it was in violation of international law and urged the PA leadership to make efforts through the UN and the Security Council to thwart it.

Abbas told Fatah leaders during the three-day gathering that the Palestinians want a just and comprehensive peace, but would not compromise on their rights.

He also ruled out the possibility of returning to the negotiating table without a full cessation of construction in settlements and east Jerusalem.

In its sessions, the council also reiterated its opposition to the idea of creating a Palestinian state with temporary borders. A PA official said there was no change its position on this issue.

“The PA leadership dismisses the idea of a state with temporary borders, the official said.

“We insist that the issue of borders and security be the first to be discussed when the negotiations resume.”

The official’s statements follow statements by several Israeli politicians who recently came out in favor of creating a Palestinian state with temporary borders in an effort to prevent a diplomatic vacuum and give the Palestinians the responsibility that a state would provide.

Kadima leadership candidate Shaul Mofaz unveiled a plan a year ago in which Israel would annex settlement blocs while withdrawing from 60 percent of the West Bank, comprising Areas A and B, where 99.2 of the Palestinians live, and additional land to create a contiguous Palestinian state. Intensive negotiations would then begin on final borders.

Mofaz said that he has met with senior Palestinian, American and European officials who have privately endorsed his plan.

President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have also expressed support for the idea of creating a Palestinian state with temporary borders.

Journalist Yair Lapid, who is expected to run for the next Knesset, wrote in his Yediot Aharonot column last week that Israel should forget about trying to achieve peace and instead focus on creating a Palestinian state as soon as possible.

“The time has come to separate the question of establishing a Palestinian state from the question of peace,” Lapid wrote.

“Israel must work toward the establishment of a Palestinian state not because it would bring peace, but rather because it would be much easier to manage the conflict vis-a-vis such a state.”

He predicted that the establishment of a Palestinian state would “take the world off our backs, curb the process of turning us into a pariah state, enable us to maintain our security with fewer restraints, lift the burden of controlling three million people, and enable us to manage the discussion on our final borders and the future of the settlements.”

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