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Abbas Says He Will Not Recognize Israel as Jewish State

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.

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