Palestinian negotiator calls on PLO to retract recognition of Israel

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat urged his government to retract its recognition of Israel until the Jewish state recognizes a Palestinian one.

Erekat, a Palestinian lawmaker and former chief of the steering and monitoring committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, made the recommendation in a report he submitted to government officials on Thursday about Palestinian-Israeli relations, calling for a comprehensive review of the current status quo.

Titled “Determining Palestinian-Israeli relations: Changing, not merely improving, the situation,” Erekat recommended that the Palestinian leadership “consider retracting its recognition of Israel until the Israeli government issues a reciprocal recognition of a Palestinian state,” the Ma’an news agency reported.

The PLO’s recognition of Israel paved the way to the signing of the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, which form the basis for security cooperation between Ramallah and Jerusalem and various initiatives to reach a permanent agreement.

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The study recommended that the Ramallah reject any international call for recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and oppose the deployment of Israeli forces along the Jordan Valley as part of any peace agreement.

Israeli governments have conditioned a permanent agreement on the presence of Israeli troops in the valley. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called repeatedly for the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The PLO must also reject any concessions to its sovereignty over East Jerusalem, Erekat’s report added.

Erekat also suggested that efforts be made for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to join the PLO’s Executive Committee and urged the PLO and Palestinian factions to support popular resistance and the boycott of Israeli settlement products, according to the Ma’an report.

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