Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech to supporters that he will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state and will not sign a peace deal that does not include eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.
The Palestinian Authority president made the inflammatory remarks on Saturday during a visit by hundreds of Palestinian activists to his Ramallah headquarters in the West Bank, the Associated Press reported.
He also said that he would not negotiate beyond the original nine-month deadline set by U.S. 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.
Kerry reportedly will return soon to the region in order to present a framework agreement which covers all of the core issues to the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.
This story "Abbas Says He Will Not Recognize Israel as Jewish State" was written by JTA.