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Arab summit to back rejection of 'Jewish state': Draft

AFP , Tuesday 25 Mar 2014
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: Reuters)
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Arab leaders meeting Tuesday in Kuwait are expected to back a Palestinian refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, an Israeli demand that threatens to derail peace talks.

The summit stresses a "categorical rejection" of the demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, according to a draft statement endorsed by foreign ministers.

The statement also rejects "all pressures exerted on the Palestinian leadership" to force it into agreeing.

The Arab League has already rejected the demand, in a statement issued from its Cairo headquarters earlier this month.

The Palestinians recognised the state of Israel at the start of the peace process in the early 1990s, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted they now recognise its religious character and give up on the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is facing an uphill battle to keep peace talks on track beyond a 29 April deadline, with the negotiations waylaid over several key issues, including the question of recognition.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has made it clear that he will never recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

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