Palestinians ask Israel to specify its state borders

Arab World Materials 14 October 2010 02:39 (UTC +04:00)

The Palestinian Authority asked Israel and the US Wednesday to define precisely which territory it is supposed to recognize as a Jewish state, before any such recognition could be given, DPA reported.

The appeal came in response after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that the Palestinians should recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people before he would consider extending an expired settlement freeze for two months.

The US asked the Palestinians Tuesday to make a counter offer to Netanyahu.

"We have officially asked the US administration and the government of Israel to provide us with a map showing the borders of the state of Israel they want us to recognize," Yasser Abed Rabbo, a close aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told Voice of Palestine Radio.

In Washington, US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley told reporters that the Palestinians and Israelis need to resolve the issue through negotiations.

"This is a core issue, and this is something that only a direct negotiation can resolve," Crowley said.

The Palestinians had previously recognized Israel within the 1967 borders but Israel, although it has said it supports the two-state solution, has never recognized that the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip will form the territory of the future Palestinian state, leaving Israel's final borders open to question.

Abed Rabbo said the Palestinian Authority (PA) was waiting for the US and Israeli responses to its question before it can make the next move.

Direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are currently in limbo, after Israel's 10-month moratorium on construction in West Bank settlements expired at the end of last month.

The PA has said it will not resume the direct talks - only launched at the beginning of September - until and unless the freeze is extended.