Palestinians quash PM's offer for renewed building freeze

Spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas rejects Netanyahu's offer to extend moratorium for recognition of Israel as Jewish homeland, says the two issues are not connected.

Mahmoud Abbas what 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Mahmoud Abbas what 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's offer to extend the settlement freeze in the territories for the PA's recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people.
"The topic of the Jewishness of the state is not connected at all to the issue [of the building freeze]," said the spokesman.
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Netanyahu had made the bold offer during his speech at the opening of the winter session of the Knesset earlier in the day.
In his speech, the prime minister challenged his Palestinian counterparts to continue the peace talks by saying he would initiate a cabinet proposal to renew a settlement moratorium if the Palestinian Authority would declare its recognition of Israel as a national home for the Jewish people.Netanyahu's comments put an end to a couple of weeks of speculation regarding how he would deal with the moratorium issue.
He said that Palestinian recognition would be an important "confidence building measure" and would send an important positive message to the Israeli people of  Palestinian intentions.
Netanyahu said that he sent this message to the Palestinians through a variety of channels.