PLO official: Palestinian leadership could recognize Israel as Jewish state

Following talks in Paris, Abbas says Kerry's efforts "extremely serious" but so far have failed to arrive at peace framework.

Abbas looking unhappy 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Abbas looking unhappy 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
The current Palestinian leadership could possibly recognize Israel as a Jewish state in some form, a PLO official said Friday.
However, a popular referendum would need to approve any such recognition accepted by the Palestinian leadership, senior Fatah official and former PA minister Nabil Amr told Palestinian news agency Ma'an.
He called on the US to present the Palestinian side with an "acceptable" form of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, stating that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's current demands were not acceptable.
"If that was one of the main obstacles in US Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts, then the active and determined Kerry has to overcome it without embarrassing Abbas or weakening any possible agreement between Palestinians and Israelis," Amr said.
Abbas said Friday that  the US Secretary of State's efforts were "extremely serious" but that he has not yet succeeded in creating an agreed to framework for continuation of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
After meeting with Kerry in Paris twice this past week, Abbas told the press on Friday: "So far the Americans have not been able to put these ideas into a framework, even if the efforts are extremely serious", AFP quoted the Palestinian leader as saying.  
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has vehemently rejected Israeli demands to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as part of any future peace agreement.
Following Kerry and Abbas's meeting in Paris, a Palestinian official reiterated his side's objection to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
"The Palestinian position explained to Mr Kerry is that the proposed ideas, particularly the insistence on recognition of the state of Israel as the Jewish nation-state, are unacceptable," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
According to the report, the official said that the ideas Kerry presented to Abbas could "not serve as the basis for a framework accord between the Palestinians and Israel as they do not take into account the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people."
Meanwhile, Netanyahu has said that it is "absurd" to think that Israel would acquiesce to a peace agreement that entails Israeli recognizing a Palestinian state without gaining Palestinian recognition of a Jewish state.
There is considerable speculation that if the Palestinian Authority would show flexibility on the recognition issue, Israel would be more flexible on its demand that the basis for a continuation of the negotiations be on the pre-1967 lines, with mutually agreed land swaps.
Khaled Abu Toameh, Herb Keinon and Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.