TIME Middle East

Palestinian Leader Says He Won’t Recognize Israel as a Jewish State

President Mahmoud Abbas meets with French President Francois Hollande in Paris
President Mahmoud Abbas meets with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Feb. 21, 2014. Corbis

As the deadline looms for a framework for peace, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he also will not consent to only having a portion of east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says in a new interview that there’s “no way” he’ll recognize Israel as a Jewish state or consent to having only a portion of east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Abbas’ comments, published Friday by the WAFA news agency, come as Secretary of State John Kerry has spent seven months trying to mediate peace talks between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Associated Press reports. Kerry has set a deadline of April 29 for a peace framework between the two groups, and Abbas comments underscored how unlikely meeting that goal now seems.

Abbas will meet at the White House with President Barack Obama on March 17 as part of the administration’s push for a peace deal. Obama met with Netanyahu on March 3.

[AP]

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