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A "Traditional Demand"
Palestinian negotiators charged Tuesday that Israel is sabotaging the conference by making new demands. The latest is that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians could not do that. Such a declaration would imply conceding the "right of return" of 4 million Palestinians — refugees and their descendants from the war that followed Israel's creation in 1948.
Israel insists that the refugees must be repatriated in the Palestinian state to be set up, not in Israel.
While a deal might eventually be worked out, Palestinians were not prepared to give up their traditional demand even before negotiations begin.
Memo to AP: The idea of Israel as a Jewish state is also a "traditional demand."
UPDATE Nov. 14: See Jeff Jacoby's response to Erekat.
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