Arafat Recognized Israel As the Jewish State, But Abbas Wont

Arafat said the PNC (Palestine National Council) accepted the idea of two states. One Palestinian, and a “Jewish state … Israel.”

In recent days Palestinian President Abbas and the Arab League have each rejected calls to recognize Israel as the Jewish state, but a video has surfaced which shows his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, did.

In the video, Arafat says the PNC (Palestine National Council) accepted the idea of two states. One Palestinian, and a “Jewish state … Israel.”

Despite the fact that the United States and Europe believe that President Abbas is more moderate than Arafat, the Palestinian refuses to go as far as the man he replaced. Last week he told the Palestinian news agency WAFA that he withstood international pressure in the past, when he sought U.N. recognition of a state of Palestine over Washington's objections.

Speaking to youth activists of his Fatah party, he suggested he would stand firm again, particularly over the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

"They are pressing and saying, 'No peace without the Jewish state,'" he said, though not spelling out who is applying the pressure. "There is no way. We will not accept."

His objection was endorsed by the Arab league over the weekend:

The council of the Arab League confirms its support for the Palestinian leadership in its effort to end the Israeli occupation over Palestinian lands, and emphasizes its rejection of recognizing Israel as a 'Jewish state'

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