Despite Jerusalem’s clear position that the Palestinian Authority must recognize the Jewish state in order to move forward with the U.S.-brokered peace negotiations, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki stated on Saturday – for the first time – that such recognition was unnecessary.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Washington last week for meetings with the American president and other members of the Administration, has stated repeatedly that the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to recognize the Jewish state was the key obstacle to advancing the peace talks. Yet in a move that surprised many observers of the political scene, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki stated over the weekend that Washington did not agree that such recognition was necessary.

Talks between the Israeli prime minister and U.S. President Barack Obama focused on two key issues: the Iranian nuclear danger and the Israeli-PA peace negotiations.

Addressing the 2014 AIPAC (American Israeli Policy Affairs Committee) Policy Conference in the American capital last Tuesday, the Israeli leader again declared his position:

“President Abbas, recognize the Jewish state, and in doing so you would be telling your people that while we might have a territorial dispute, the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own is beyond dispute.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has consistently refused to recognize Jewish state. On Thursday, he repeated his official stand to Associated Press, saying he will never compromise on this issue. The next day, he reiterated his position, telling youth belonging to his Fatah political movement that “there is no way” he will recognize the State of Israel.

On Friday evening, Netanyahu told Israel’s Channel 10 News:

“I am ready to proceed, I am ready to reach the end of the conflict, but it must be the end of the conflict. We won’t allow the establishment of a Palestinian state so that it will continue the conflict, so it needs to recognize the state of the Jews just like they are demanding from us that we recognize the state of the Palestinians.”

On Saturday, according to widespread breaking-news coverage, Psaki appeared to have taken the Palestinian side. Speaking to Al-Quds, a PA-based Arabic-language newspaper, the State Department spokesperson declared:

“The American position is clear; Israel is a Jewish state. However, we do not see a need that both sides recognize this position as part of the final agreement.”

This statement by an American official closely followed another event that concerned many in the Jewish state and its supporters around the world, causing them to question Washington’s commitment to Israeli security, according to media reports and commentary. Last week, a day after the Israeli navy intercepted a ship carrying lethal Iranian arms en route to Hamas terrorists in Gaza, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told a press conference that negotiations with the Islamic Republic were nonetheless still on the table.

Author: Atara Beck, Staff Writer, United with Israel
Date: Mar. 10, 2014

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