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Arab League refuses to recognize Israel as Jewish state

Sept. 17, 2010 3:12 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 18, 2010 2:31 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Thursday decided to reject a demand made by Israel, asking Palestinian negotiators recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the Arab League supported President Mahmoud Abbas' refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinian negotiators have recognized Israel’s right to exist, but not as a Jewish state, which officials say would prejudice the right of return for refugees and violate the rights of Israel's non-Jewish residents.

Following the meeting of the Arab League, Secretary General Amr Moussa said Israeli-Palestinian peace talks could not continue if Israel did not stop building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Palestinian negotiators have said they would walk out of talks if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not extend a ban restricting settlement construction, due to expire later at the end of September.

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