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June 05, 2003

Bishara to Arab world: Don't recognize Israel as Jewish state

And yet the draft consitution for the PA wants a Palestinian state to be officially a Muslim state!
Balad leader Azmi Bishara opposes Israel's demand that the Arab world recognize it as a "Jewish state," saying Wednesday that the matter was raised to force Palestinians to forgo the right of return, a right he said has UN backing.

"Does the Arab world have to join the Zionist movement and recognize [Israel] as the Jewish state? Who has ever heard of such a thing?" he said in the Knesset during a debate on the Aqaba summit.

Balad's platform calls for Israel to be defined as a "state of all of its citizens."
A dozen MKs raised motions to the Knesset agenda on the summit.

Likud and coalition chairman Gideon Sa'ar criticized the road map and the government's approval of it. "The road map is one-sided, unbalanced, and bad for Israel," he said, expressing concern in particular about the involvement of international forces.

MK Yuri Stern (National Union) said that if the Aqaba summit leads to another cease-fire it will in the end "bring on another, but more difficult war." Stern said the road map has not corrected any of the mistakes of the Oslo accords.

Likud MK Michael Eitan demanded that the US release Jonathan Pollard from prison as its contribution to Israel for advancing the peace process. "Israel has taken a security risk and released murderers at the request of the US," Eitan said. He added that Pollard is "sitting in prison for a crime that did not harm US security."
Minister Gideon Ezra, the Knesset liaison, said the government is continuing to handle the Pollard matter "discreetly," and has raised the issue in talks with the US government. He declined to say when the matter was last discussed.

National Religious Party MK Gila Finkelstein said Israel must also demand the return of Israel's missing soldiers and Elhanan Tannenbaum.

Shas MK Nissim Ze'ev launched a harsh attack on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, saying he has "lost his credibility," after leading Israel to the road map and calling for an "end to the occupation." He said Sharon would not have been elected if he had revealed his views.

MK Abdul Malik Dehamshe (United Arab List) said the Aqaba summit has "created an historic opportunity that cannot be missed." He said he is not sure when another chance for peace will arise