US Secretary of State John Kerry has asked the Jordanian and Saudi kings to put pressure on the Palestinian Authority (PA) president, Mahmoud Abbas, to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, Haaretz newspaper reported a senior Israeli official saying on Tuesday.
The official did not disclose how both kings replied to Kerry’s demand, but added that Kerry asked them to offer their support for Abbas if he consents, or, in the least, to request that he not “torpedo” the idea.
In addition, the Israeli official said that Kerry hoped to receive a “positive response” to this idea from Arab League foreign ministers during his meetings in Paris in the coming days.
According to Haaretz, Kerry has adopted Israel’s view in the current round of negotiations and is working to reach a framework agreement that requires the PA to recognise Israeli as a Jewish state, because without this recognition, he thinks that Israel would refuse to negotiate based on the 1967 borders.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett warned on Tuesday that his party would withdraw from the government coalition should Tel Aviv accept to negotiate with the PA based on the 1967 borders.
In related news, US Ambassador to Tel Aviv Dan Shapiro told Israeli radio that Kerry hopes to finalise the framework agreement within weeks.
And Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alone remarked that Kerry’s current aim is only to extend the negotiations beyond the current agreed upon timeframe, which ends by April of this year. Ya’alone also affirmed that extending the timeframe of the negotiations is in Israel’s interest.