The Arab League announced on Wednesday complete support for a Palestinian refusal to meet Israel’s demand to be recognised as a Jewish state, a condition Jerusalem says is required for peace, reports the Jerusalem Post.
“We express our total rejection of the call to consider Israel as a Jewish state,” stated the Arab League on the final day of the Arab summit in Kuwait, supporting the hardline position taken by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas .
On Tuesday, Abbas had addressed the Arab representatives, where he repeated his refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state and said that the Palestinians want an independent state on “all the territories that were occupied in 1967.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly called for the Palestinians to recognise the Jewish character of Israel as a requirement for a peace agreement, consistent with the principle of “two states for two peoples.”
The Palestinians insist that millions of descendants of refugees from 1948 be allowed to live in Israel even after any peace agreement is reached, a position which would be compromised by accepting Israel as a Jewish state. The Israelis see such recognition as integral to recognising Jewish history and rights on the land, and ending additional Palestinian claims against it.
The issue has grown in importance during the peace process, overshadowing other primary issues including borders, refugees and the status of Jerusalem. The Obama administration had initially sided with Israel on the issue of recognising Israel as Jewish, but has walked back that support as it has become evident that the Palestinians will not agree to such recognition.