| ARUTZ SHEVA (Israeli National News) - By Gil Ronen - December 2, 2007 |
Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas is standing firm in his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Abbas visited Egypt and Jordan for talks and was headed to Saudi Arabia when, speaking to reporters, he said "Historically there are two states, Israel and Palestine. Israel is inhabited by Jews and others. We are willing to recognize that and nothing else."
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayad said in a recent interview to Al-Arabiya TV, that "Israel can call itself whatever it wants, but the Palestinians will not recognize it as a Jewish state."
After talking to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Saturday, Abbas said that the Annapolis summit would be followed by summits in Paris and Russia. A special negotiation team headed by Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala) would handle the talks with Israel that are scheduled to begin December 12.
"We have no problem talking to Hamas"
Abbas said that the "Palestinian leadership" would be creating a high committee composed of representatives of the different factions to follow the negotiation process. He would not say which factions will be represented but did tell reporters that he was willing to talk with Hamas. "We have been talking to Hamas in the past four or five years," he said. "We have no problem talking because they are a part of the Palestinian people and we will not give up on this part of the population or ignore them."
Abbas added that negotiations with Israel were also about Gaza, even though it was under Hamas rule. "Dracula's sister"
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said, in the days before last week's summit at Annapolis, that the precondition for negotiation with the PA would be its acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. The Israeli leadership also made it clear that the PA must not have contact with Hamas, which it considers a terrorist group and a "hostile entity."
The Dutch representative at the summit, Franz Timmermans, told the Jerusalem Post that Livni had pleaded with Arab representatives at the summit to stop "treating her like a leper," and could not understand why they refused to shake her hand.
The Arab representatives, he added, had treated Livni like she was "Dracula's younger sister."
The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement denying that Livni had made those comments.