The president of the Palestinian national unity government says Palestinians cannot and will not recognize Israel as a “Jewish state”.
Palestinians “cannot recognize a Jewish state. We will stand against this enterprise, not out of obstinacy, but because it contradicts our interests,” Mahmud Abbas said in an interview with the Egyptian daily Akhbar Al-Yawm.
He further said that there are six million “Palestinian refugees”, including himself, who’ve become homeless since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1948.
The recognition of a Jewish state contradicts the Palestinians’ interests by “preventing the return of the Palestinian refugees,” Abbas added.
Abbas further said in the interview that Israelis are too difficult a partner to negotiate with because they are not interested in “peace”.
“Working with Israel is very difficult, if not impossible. We are conducting mutual relations with people who don’t believe in peace. You ask for peace, and they do not want it…,” he said
The president of the Palestinian national unity government also reiterated the Palestinians’ call for an independent state based on the pre-1967 boundaries and an end to the Israeli occupation.
“We want a state in the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, and we want to [set] a date to end the occupation. That is all we want. If Israel agrees to this now, we will go to negotiations. [But] they use deception and excel at media fraud,” Abbas said.
In 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem Al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip. However, Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.On May 17, 2014, almost all countries in the United Nations voted in favor of Resolution 58/292 stipulating that the borders of a Palestinian state should be based on the pre-1967 borders.
“If we cannot get what we want, there are other steps [we can take]. The first step is joining many international organizations, such as the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice,” Abbas further said, adding, “There are 520 international organizations, and [joining them] will surely bother everyone. If there is an appeal to the ICC, and a Palestinian files a lawsuit against an Israeli, they [the Israelis] get scared, because they are wanted and cannot travel.”
Tel Aviv, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of East Jerusalem Al-Quds.