Leak suggests John Kerry will recognise Israel as Jewish state

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ma'ariv, an Israeli daily newspaper, reports that according to a leaked US document John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, will describe Israel as a Jewish state in the outline document of the peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), despite widespread Palestinian objection. Moreover, it is noted that the document recognizes Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people.

It's impossible for the Palestinians to sign such an agreement with Israel

—Nabil Shaath

The document will be presented to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, during his upcoming visit to the USA next month and is meant to serve as an outline for a future peace agreement between the two sides. According to The Telegraph, European diplomats fear that the document will be perceived as biased in favor of the Israeli side and therefore the Palestinians will not accept it.

Official portrait of John Kerry.
Image: United States Department of State.

Israel requested the peace agreement include recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. However, Palestinian authorities say that such recognition will depose five million refugees from ever returning to homes fled following the 1948 establishment of Israel. In addition, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas expressed his worries such recognition will hurt the 1.5 million Arab citizens of Israel.

Nabil Shaath, the former Palestinian Foreign Minister, was quoted by The Telegraph telling reporters after the leak "When you talk about a Jewish state, you are talking about the end of the end of any solution for Palestinian refugees - do you think any Palestinian can accept this?" Shaath also said "If Mr Kerry thinks this is the sum of his brilliant intelligence, the document will go nowhere. It's impossible for the Palestinians to sign such an agreement with Israel."

The document, according to the leak, will refer to the borders dispute, which Palestine wants based on the borders before the 1967 Mideast War. Other topics covered reportedly include the future state of Jerusalem which is sacred to both nations and the Jordan Valley issue. Israel demands an ongoing military presence in the valley for ten years once an agreement is signed while the PA agrees to leave such presence only for five years.