RAMALLAH, West Bank, 13 November 2007 — The head of Palestinian Liberation Organization negotiation department Saeb Erekat, rejected yesterday a demand by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Erekat told Voice of Palestine Radio that “no state in the world connects its national identity to a religious identity.”
He added “why do I recognize the religion of the state of Israel? Why this logic? Why are they returning back to their strategy in Camp David with President (Yasser) Arafat when they spoke of sovereignty over and under the (Al-Aqsa) holy mosque to put the blame on Abu Ammar (Arafat)?”
The Israeli Channel 2 TV said that Olmert intends to demand that the Palestinian Authority accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state in upcoming negotiations.
This will be Israel’s precondition for any further negotiations with the PA, according to Channel 2 TV.
Olmert told the Knesset (Israeli parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday that he was certain Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad were committed to agreements and ready for peace with Israel as a Jewish state.