Abbas: PA wont recognize Israel as Jewish state

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told supporters that he will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state or sign a peace deal that fails to include eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

The Palestinian Authority president made the remarks in a speech Jan. 11 during a visit by hundreds of Palestinian activists to his Ramallah headquarters in the West Bank, the Associated Press reported.

Abbas also said he would not negotiate beyond the original nine-month deadline set by Secretary of State John Kerry for the U.S.-backed negotiations to end in a final-status deal. After the deadline, which expires in May, Abbas said he will seek international recognition for a Palestinian state without an agreement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will not sign an agreement unless the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. — jta