The Arab League announced on Wednesday its full backing of a Palestinian refusal to meet Israel’s demand to be recognized as a Jewish state, a condition Jerusalem says it requires for peace.
“We express our total rejection of the call to consider Israel as a Jewish state,” read a statement from the final day of the Arab summit in Kuwait.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reiterated the call for the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish character of Israel as a requirement for a peace agreement.
On Tuesday Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the Arab heads, reiterating his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and said that the Palestinians want an independent state on “all the territories that were occupied in 1967.”
Earlier in the month, the Arab League endorsed the Palestinian position on recognition.
Arab governments, distracted by the upheaval convulsing the region since the 2011 Arab uprisings, have previously taken few stands on the floundering peace talks, leaving Abbas isolated.
The issue has lately overshadowed other stumbling blocks over borders, refugees and the status of Jerusalem.
Palestinians fear the label would lead to discrimination against Israel’s sizable Arab minority, while Israelis say it recognizes Jewish history and rights on the land.
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.
SOURCE: The Jerusalem Post / Reuters