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Khatib Photo: Hagai Aharon
Khatib Photo: Hagai Aharon
 
Erekat Photo: Ronen Boidek
Erekat Photo: Ronen Boidek
 
Barghouti Photo: AP
Barghouti Photo: AP
 
 

Israeli Arab leader to PA: Don't recognize Israel as Jewish state

Israeli Arabs, Palestinian Authority representatives gather in Nazareth Friday for Hadash party annual convention. Head of Higher Arab Monitoring Committee says Arabs in Israel pay heavy price for country's definition as Jewish state

Sharon Roffe-Ofir
Published: 12.07.07, 22:32 / Israel News

The Palestinian Authority must not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee Shawki Khatib said Friday during a Hadash party annual convention in Nazareth.

 

Hundreds of the party's supporters, including PLO and Palestinian Authority representatives, attended the gathering, which marked 30 years since the movement's establishment.

 

According to Khatib, Israeli Arabs in Israel have been pushed to the margins due to the country's definition as Jewish state, and are paying a heavy price for this. He urged PA envoys who attended the event not to comply with Israel's demand for such recognition.

 

Responding to Khatib's statement, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who spoke at the event's opening ceremony, said that he would not "apply for membership in the Zionist movement."

 

"When Livni presented this demand," Erekat said, "I asked her, 'Why do you ask for such a thing when you can do this on your own using basic laws?' But some say that Israel is trying to get rid of the refugees issue before it is even discussed."

 

Erekat referred to the situation in Gaza and the West Bank, saying that "the Hamas revolution will end once a Palestinian state is established, but if no such state is founded, the situation in the West Bank may become worrying."

 

Erekat also claimed that any recognition in Israel would be motivated by "pragmatic reasons" alone.  

 

Abbas: Palestinians must unite

One of the PA's representatives read out a message from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in which the leader stressed that the Palestinian people would not be able to regain their rights without first achieving internal unity.

 

"Hamas will realize that in order to renew negotiations, the Palestinian people had better be united again," Abbas wrote. Referring to Hadash, the president stated that the party was home to "the true and most prominent leadership of Palestinians in Israel. We trust you to continue influencing the political discourse in Israel, as you have done in the past."

 

Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti also sent a message to the convention's participants. According to Barghouti, "This convention takes place against the backdrop of an ongoing attack on the Arab population in Israel, and some believe that you are a strategic threat that must be eradicated.

 

"Your remaining in the homeland is the greatest and most important national treasure for you and the Palestinian people. Your struggle for national rights and your effort, alongside the progressive Israeli camp, to end the occupation is beyond measure," he added.  

 

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