PA Rejects Israeli Premier’s Condition

The Palestinian Authority’s top negotiator refutes the Israeli premier’s offer which obliged the Palestinians to recognize Israel in return for a settlement freeze.

"I hope he will stop playing these games and will start the peace process by stopping settlements," Saeb Erekat said on Monday.

His reply came after Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier offered to extend the 10-month partial moratorium on settlement projects, should the Palestinians recognize Israel as a "Jewish state."

"If the Palestinian leadership would say unequivocally to its people that it recognizes Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people, I will be willing to ask for an additional suspension," Netanyahu told the parliament on Monday.

Erekat was also quoted as saying by the Associated Press that there was no connection between Netanyahu’s obligations and his efforts to define the nature of Israel.

The Israeli leader has repeatedly made similar demands in the past, though he has never explicitly linked it to the settlement issue.

The Palestinians refuse to accept Israel as a "Jewish state," saying it discriminates against Israel’s Arab minority and violates the rights of millions of Palestinian refugees scattered around the world.

The expiry of the partial freeze has thrown the latest round of direct talks between Netanyahu and acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas into turmoil.

(Press TV)

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