|Arabs reject ‘Jewish state’ description
Arab leaders fully back a Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a final Arab summit statement said.
“We express our total rejection of the call to consider Israel as a Jewish state,’’ said the declaration, issued at the end of the two-day meeting in Kuwait City.
The Palestinians recognized Israel at the start of the peace process in the early 1990s, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted they now acknowledge it as the national homeland of the Jewish people, in a move which would effectively torpedo the “right of return'' for Palestinian refugees
The Arab League had already rejected the demand, in a statement issued from its Cairo headquarters earlier this month.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has made it clear that he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Netanyahu has placed the recognition dispute at the forefront of the talks, describing Arab rejection of the Jewish state as the “root of the conflict.’’
For the Palestinians, the issue is intimately entwined with the fate of their refugees who were forced out of their homes or fled in 1948 when Israel became a state. They see Netanyahu's demand as a way to sidestep a negotiated solution to the refugee question.—AFP