Arab League rejects recognition of Israel as Jewish state

(JTA) — The Arab League has rejected Israel’s demand that the Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state in the framework of current peace talks.

The Arab League on Sunday released a resolution at a meeting in Cairo that supported Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abba’s decision not to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

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“The council of the Arab League confirms its support for the Palestinian leadership in its effort to end the Israeli occupation over Palestinian lands, and emphasizes its rejection of recognizing Israel as a ‘Jewish state’,” the foreign ministers of Arab countries said in their resolution.

The demand, the statement said, “aims to annul the right of return and compensation for Palestinian refugees.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made the signing of a peace agreement contingent on the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the first prime minister to do so.

The U.S.-backed peace talks are scheduled to end on April 29. Abbas has said he will not allow for an extension of the nine-month process.

Abbas is scheduled to meet in Washington with President Obama on March 17; Obama met with Netanyahu last week.

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