Arab League rejects Israel as Jewish homeland

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the closing session of the Arab League Summit at Bayan Palace, Kuwait City, on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Nasser Waggi

Arab leaders said on Wednesday they will never recognise Israel as a Jewish state, blaming it for a lack of progress in the West Asia peace process.

The statement, which came at the end of a summit in Kuwait, also rejected what the Arab League described as the continuation of Jewish settlement building in the West Bank and the “Judaisation” of Jerusalem.

The League’s announcement that it will not recognise Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people rejects a key demand of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in West Asia peace talks.

Mr. Netanyahu believes there cannot be peace without such a recognition. The Palestinians oppose this, saying it harms the rights of Palestinian refugees displaced from what is now Israel, as well as those of Israel’s Arab minority.

“We hold Israel entirely responsible for the lack of progress in the peace process and continuing tension in the Middle East, the League communiqué said. “We express our absolute and decisive rejection to recognising Israel as a Jewish state.”

It also added that it rejected what it said was the “the continuation of settlements, Judaisation of Jerusalem and attacks in its Muslim and Christian shrines and changing its demographics and geography.” The statement did not elaborate.

Wednesday’s announcement sets the stage for the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, to take a tough line in talks later in the day with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Jordan.

Mr. Kerry arrived in Jordan on Wednesday in hopes of jump-starting the foundering peace talks. He is meeting with King Abdullah II before a working dinner with Mr. Abbas. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said Mr. Kerry also will talk with Mr. Netanyahu in the next few days.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 10:39:22 AM |

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