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February 10, 2014 10:33 am

PA’s Erekat: Peace Talks Will Not Be Extended, PA Recognition of Jewish State ‘Will Not Happen’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Lead PA negotiator Saeb Erekat. Photo: wiki commons.

Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority in the U.S.-brokered peace talks with Israel, on Monday said that direct negotiations have stalled and would not be extended beyond April. He also underlined the PA position that it would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Speaking on Radio Sawa, from Ramallah, Erekat denied reports that there was an initiative from the U.S. to extend the negotiations beyond a self-imposed April 29 deadline, and described the current state of the talks as being “negotiations between U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and his team, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his team, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his team.”

Erekat dismissed a reported statement from Tzipi Livni, head of the Israeli delegation to the talks, on the willingness of the PA to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, saying that “it will not happen.”

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In the report, the radio station quoted PA President Mahmoud Abbas as telling The New York Times last week, “The Palestinians will never recognize the Jewishness of the state of Israel.”

Erekat has been a lead member of the negotiating team for the PA, and earlier, for the PLO, for the past 23 years.

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