Israel insists Palestinians recognize 'Jewish state'

Monday, November 12, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel's right to exist is not enough. Jerusalem wants to make sure its peace partners are clear that Israel is and will remain Jewish.

Prior to the expected US-hosted peace summit later this month, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will insist that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a "Jewish state" as a precondition for further progress toward the two-state solution, reported Ynet.

Palestinian officials say they will reject this demand and not allow official recognition of Israel as a Jewish state to be included in the closing statement following the upcoming gathering in Annapolis, Maryland. The Palestinian Authority realizes that by demanding this, Olmert is trying to close the door on the so-called "Palestinian right of return," a concept the Arabs have been pushing for years whereby Israel would be flooded with millions of foreign born Arabs claiming to be the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

Along with control of Jerusalem, the issue of a Palestinian right of return is one that observers expect to scuttle the Annapolis conference.

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