Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, rightfully belongs to the Palestinians, PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash told Israel Channel 10 TV on Monday. “All the holy places, including the Aksa mosque and the Western Wall,” must be returned to the Palestinian Authority, Habbash said. (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinian Envoy to Peace Talks: We Won’t Recognize Israel as a Jewish State – Khaled Abu Toameh
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat reiterated Monday the PA’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, in response to statements attributed to Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni that the PA was ready to do so.
Erekat told the Voice of Palestine radio that the direct peace talks have stopped, and that the U.S. was now negotiating separately with the PA and the Israeli government. He also denied that the PA leadership would agree to extend the peace talks beyond April 29. (Jerusalem Post)
Fatah and the “Armed Struggle” Against Israel – Khaled Abu Toameh
In an interview in the New York Times, PA President Mahmoud Abbas once again expressed his opposition to an armed struggle against Israel. But while in English Abbas was voicing his opposition to an armed struggle, in Arabic Palestinian officials were issuing statements in support of “armed resistance” against Israel.
The officials who favor “armed resistance” are senior representatives of Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction whose names are often mentioned as potential successors to Abbas. They include Jibril Rajoub, Tawfik Tirawi and Mahmoud al-Aloul – all members of the Fatah Central Committee – who have publicly come out in favor of a return to an “armed struggle” against Israel. The statements are aimed at preparing the Palestinian public for another round of violence with Israel if and when the U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian negotiations fail. (Gatestone Institute)
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