Palestinians see Kerry proposals 'unacceptable'
WEST BANK - Ideas proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas cannot "serve as the basis for a framework accord" with Israel, a Palestinian official said Friday.
"The ideas proposed cannot be accepted by the Palestinian side as the basis for a framework accord between the Palestinians and Israel as they do not take into account the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity, after Abbas and Kerry met in Paris this week.
"The Palestinian position explained to Mr Kerry is that the proposed ideas, particularly the insistences on recognition of the state of Israel as the Jewish nation-state, are unacceptable," the official said.
Proposals for the future of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim as the capital of the state, are "vague", the official added.
Abbas, the official said, "restated the Palestinian position and his vision of a solution based on United Nations resolutions and the positions of the Palestinian leadership and the Arab League."
Kerry has spent months trying to get the Israelis and the Palestinians to agree on a framework to guide talks towards a full peace treaty, but the negotiations have shown little sign of progress, with each side blaming the other.
US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said on Friday that he expected Palestinian recognition of Israel's Jewish character to be part of that framework.
"It has always been US policy, that Israel is a Jewish state and should remain a Jewish state. That is one of the elements of the framework on which we are working," he told Israeli public radio.
"I imagine that in the framework that we are preparing now, we shall see recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the national state of the Jewish people," he added.
"We shall need to know that this is the end of the conflict and that is one way of knowing it, that everyone in the region and the neighbours accept that there is a national state of the Jewish people here in the homeland of the Jewish people."
The US State Department described the Paris meetings on Wednesday and Thursday as "constructive", and said Kerry and Abbas had agreed to stay in touch in the coming weeks.
Kerry, who pushed the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table after a three-year gap, has no immediate plans to travel back to Israel or the West Bank after making 11 trips during his first year in office.
But he is likely to meet early next month in Washington with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of an annual conference organised by a powerful American-Israeli lobbying group.