US Insists on Jewish, Democratic State of Israel

  • Mitchell: Must be Jewish Israeli State alongside Palestinian State
  • Netanyahu prepared to show flexibility on building freeze
  • Hamas condemns PA for participating in talks

JERUSALEM, Sept 14 – The United States has given its backing to the Israeli call for Palestinian recognition of a Jewish State of Israel.

“Our vision is for a two-state solution that includes a Jewish democratic State of Israel living side by side in peace and security with a viable independent sovereign and contiguous Palestine,” U.S. envoy George Mitchell said on Tuesday.

He was speaking to reporters after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held face-to-face talks in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

One of Israel’s key demands entering the direct talks is that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Given that the issue of the West Bank construction freeze is “politically sensitive” for Netanyahu, Mitchell urged Abbas “to take steps that help encourage and facilitate this process.”

Netanyahu believes there is room for compromise on building in the West Bank, according to a source in his office.

Ahead of the talks Netanyahu expressed disappointment that Palestinian officials are speaking with the media, according to the source in the Prime Minister’s Office. “Discretion” needs to be the order of the day.

Mitchell also called for the negotiators to avoid making public comments.

The talks are slated to continue in Jerusalem on Wednesday (Sept. 15) after Clinton, Netanyahu and Abbas leave Egypt. After the Jerusalem parley representatives from both sides will meet to discuss the details before the leaders meet for a third round of negotiations.

As the teams were gathering in Sharm, senior figures in the Iranian-backed Hamas organization again called on the Palestinian Authority not to participate in the process.

“(Hamas) condemns the PA’s insistence on liquidating the Palestinian cause and engaging in talks with Israelis in light of the ongoing Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people,” the pro-Hamas website Palestine-Info quoted Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan as saying.

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