Fayad: Jews welcome in our future state

PA prime minister reportedly vows Palestinian state will give full rights to Jews living within its territory.

fayad speaking 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
fayad speaking 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Jews would enjoy freedom and civil rights in a future Palestinian state, a US newspaper quoted Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad as saying on Sunday. Fayad addressed the subject in response to a question from former CIA director James Woolsey at the Aspen Institute's Aspen Ideas Festival on Saturday, according to the Aspen Daily News. There are a million Arabs in Israel, accounting for one-sixth of the Israeli population, Woolsey reportedly said, noting that "generally they enjoy the guarantees that Americans look for in the Bill of Rights." "Now, if there is to be the rule of law in a Palestinian state, and if Jews want to live in someplace like Hebron, or anyplace else in a Palestinian state, for whatever reasons or historical attachments, why should they not be treated the same way Israeli Arabs are?" the newspaper quoted Woolsey as asking the PA prime minister. Fayad responded by saying, "I'm not going to disagree with you. And I'm not someone who will say that they would or should be treated differently than Israeli Arabs are treated in Israel. "In fact the kind of state that we want to have, that we aspire to have, is one that would definitely espouse high values of tolerance, co-existence, mutual respect and deference to all cultures, religions. No discrimination whatsoever, on any basis whatsoever," the Palestinian official reportedly said. "Jews to the extent they choose to stay and live in the state of Palestine will enjoy those rights and certainly will not enjoy any less rights than Israeli Arabs enjoy now in the state of Israel," Fayad concluded. According to the report, the crowd at the Greenwald Pavilion applauded enthusiastically. Fayad's remarks came a day before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the first time since taking office made public use of the words "two states for two peoples." Netanyahu on Sunday cited the national consensus on the two-state solution for an Israeli-Palestinian accord as a major accomplishment for his government in its first 100 days.