Senior Palestinian Official: We Could Recognize Jewish State

Some form of recognition of Israel as the Jewish state could be acceptable to the Palestinian Authority, says PLO Central Committee Member Nabil Amro, though it would still have to be brought to a popular referendum.

A senior Palestinian official said Friday that the Palestinian Authority could possibly recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

PLO Central Committee Member Nabil Amro told the Palestinian news agency Ma'an that the current leadership could support some form of such recognition, but that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's current proposal is unacceptable.

"If that was one of the main obstacles in U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts, then the active and determined Kerry has to overcome it without embarrassing Abbas or weakening any possible agreement between Palestinians and Israelis," Amro said.

The Palestinian official added that any such recognition okayed by the Palestinian leadership will still have to be approved by a popular referendum.

In June 2011, Netanyahu implored Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

"I stood before my people and said I would accept a Palestinian state," Netanyahu told a Jewish Agency Board of Trustees meeting in Jerusalem. Directly addressing Abbas, he urged: "Just say these words: 'I accept a Jewish state.' It is a basic demand for peace."

He reiterated his position in January, 2014,  when he praised Canada for standing with Israel after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper became the first leader of his country to address the Knesset.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reiterated his objection to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in early February, noting that Jordan and Egypt were not required to do so in signing peace agreements with Israel.  

“Mr. Netanyahu is the key," Abbas told the New York Times. "If he does believe in peace, everything will be easy.”