In fiery speech delivered in Ramallah yesterday, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said he does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. He also underscored his rejection of the new Israeli government’s demand for recognition.

A senior official in Mr. Abbas’ office said the PA president was trying to make the world aware of the deadlock with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Bureau responded by saying there would be no progress in the negotiations unless the Palestinians recognize the State of Israel’s right to self-determination as a Jewish state.

“This is a fundamental demand. We won’t sweep the Palestinian refusal to recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state beneath the carpet,” officials in the Prime Minister’s Bureau said.

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The prior government refused to press the issue with the Palestinians during the 2007 Annapolis Conference, but the Prime Minister’s Bureau promises the Netanyahu government will not follow the same path.

“They want to be given a nation-state, but aren’t prepared to recognize our right to a Jewish state. If one wants to reach peace then ultimately one has to accept the basic legitimacy of the other side. They have to say these things to their people,” Mr. Netanyahu recently said on the subject.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said: “Recognition of Israel is a vital and necessary stage in the historic reconciliation.”

An Israel Government Minister and former Israeli Army commander in chief, Moshe Yaalon, and said that the Palestinians’ actions demonstrated their true intentions.

“They want in Judea and Samaria [The West Bank] a country that has been purged of Jews and in the rest of the land an Israeli state, for the time being, that is secular and democratic, with Arabs, which, at some point, in keeping with their perception, will become part of the greater Palestinian state,” Mr. Yaalon said. “That is the realization of the stages strategy, or the realization of the Hamas charter. The disagreement they have is about the route, not about the goal.”

Israeli Arab Knesset member Ahmed Tibi, former chief of staff to PLO leader Yassir Arafat, said Mr. Abbas’ statements were logical: “The recognition does not include recognition of the political substance, but, rather, of its right to exist, its independence and borders.”

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.