US: "Jewish state" label not a precondition for talks
The United States says recognizing Israel as a “Jewish state” is not a precondition for the talks between Tel Aviv and the Palestinian Authority.
On March 11, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that Tel Aviv wants an accord to resolve the conflict with Palestinians, but they must first recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” Palestinians reject the demand.
The US Department of State said on Friday in reaction to Netanyahu comments that the demand was not a precondition to the talks.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is mediating the talks, wants the negotiators to agree on a framework for extending the negotiations beyond an April deadline.
However, Palestinians say that that is impossible unless Tel Aviv freezes its illegal settlement expansion on Palestinian land.
The Israeli regime says the settlement construction will remain even if Tel Aviv strikes an agreement with the Palestinian Authority.
Negotiators representing the Palestinian Authority and Israel began the latest round of talks in July 2013. Since the resumption of the direct talks, Palestinians have objected to a number of issues, including the settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The last round of the talks broke down in 2010, when the Tel Aviv regime refused to halt its settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories.
On March 10, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released data showing that Tel Aviv had begun work on more than 2,530 settlement units in the year 2013, compared to a figure of over 1,130 in 2012.
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