(JNS.org) Nine Arab foreign ministers told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris on Sunday that they would not accept Israel as a Jewish state, a move they made in support of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s statement on Saturday that he would also refuse such recognition for Israel. Abbas also said that Palestinians would reject any peace deal that does not make eastern Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state.
"We won’t recognize and accept the Jewishness of Israel. We have many excuses and reasons that prevent us from doing so," Abbas said. Furthermore, Abbas declared that Palestinians “don’t love death, but we welcome martyrdom if it happens,” and "will march to Jerusalem in the millions, as free people and heroes," the Jerusalem Post reported.
Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, a former adviser to the Policy Planning Division of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs that Abbas “is not a serious partner for negotiating with Israel because he does not have the authority to make decisions for the Palestinian people.”
“His rejection of any authority to make historic decisions regarding a political compromise closes the door to any stable, lasting solution for two states living in peace next to each other,” Halevi wrote.
According to Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki, Kerry told the Arab ministers Sunday that if Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations failed, he would not hesitate to publicly name the side “which provided concessions and cooperated with his efforts and the side which refused to cooperate," according to the Times of Israel.
Abbas also announced that the negotiations with Israel would continue only through April. “After that, we are free to do what we want,” he said.