Fatah to reject Israel as Jewish state at congress: document

RAMALLAH - Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction will reaffirm its refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state at a major congress next week, according to a document obtained by AFP on Saturday.
The congress document also reiterates the refusal of the Palestinian leadership to resume peace talks with Israel as long as it continues building Jewish settlements in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

Fatah to reject Israel as Jewish state at congress: document
The Fatah congress that opens in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday will be the mainstream Palestinian faction's first such meeting in 20 years, with some 2,000 delegates expected to attend from around the world.
Israel has come under diplomatic heat over its settlement activity particularly in east Jersualem which it captured in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move not recognised by the international community.
Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its "eternal, undivided" capital and does not consider construction in east Jerusalem to be settlement activity.
The Palestinians want to make the east of the city -- home to some 200,000 Jewish Israelis in 121 settlements and 268,000 Palestinians -- the capital of their future state.
In the document Fatah underlines "its refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state" as demanded by Israel's hardline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Fatah links this refusal to its determination to protect the right of Palestinian refugees to return to homes they fled at the time of the creation of Israel in 1948.
Abbas's faction is also expected to again endorse a 2002 Saudi-sponsored peace initiative with Israel.
The offer calls on all Arab states to establish full and normal relations with Israel in exchange for the Jewish state's withdrawal from all lands occupied in the 1967 war and the creation of a Palestinian state.
The Islamist movement Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip has banned Fatah members from attending the congress and has warned it will take legal action against those who defy the order.
Mahmud Zahar, a senior Hamas leader in Gaza, said earlier this week that the ban on taking part in the congress would be lifted if the rival Fatah freed all Hamas prisoners in the West Bank.
Hamas-Fatah tensions boiled over in June 2007 when the Islamists seized control of Gaza after a week of deadly street clashes, confining the writ of Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmud Abbas to the West Bank.

Saturday, August 1st 2009

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