GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Gaza government called on Thursday for the immediate resignation of a PLO official who was quoted in the press as agreeing to a conditional recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo was quoted in the Israeli daily Haaretz as saying the PLO would recognize Israel "according to the formulation of the government within the hour" if Israel agreed to 1967 borders.
According to the daily, Abed Rabbo said "Any formulation the Americans present – even asking us to call Israel the 'Chinese State' – we will agree to it, as long as we receive the 1967 borders. We have recognized Israel in the past, but Israel has not recognized the Palestinian state."
However, Abed Rabbo told Ma'an he had only spoken with Agence France-Presse over the issue.
Gaza government spokesman Taher An-Nunu said Abed Rabbo's statements did not represent the Palestinian national consensus, and gave dangerous concessions to Israel. Further, he said the statements betrayed Palestinian refugees by undermining their right to return to their land.
An-Nunu said Abed Rabbo's comments proved that the current PLO leadership could not be trusted to act in the interests of Palestinians, and called for the restructuring of the organization.
PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusuf said Wednesday that the PLO refused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's offer that Israel would stop building settlements on Palestinian land for two months if the Palestinian Authority recognized Israel as a Jewish state.
The PLO officially recognized the State of Israel, and its right to exist in peace and security, in 1993. However negotiators say recognizing Israel as a Jewish state would endanger the civil rights of the Palestinian minority in the country, and forfeit the right of return for refugees.