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 chairman made the inflammatory remarks on Saturday during a visit by hundreds of Palestinian activists to his Ramallah headquarters in Samaria, the Associated Press reported.
Abbas also told the delegation that without East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state, there will be “no peace between us and Israel.”
According to Ma’an, Abbas promised he would reiterate this stance during a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday.
“He will be told that occupied East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine, and without this there will be no peace between us and Israel,” Abbas insisted.
He added that he heard that the Israelis had refused to mention Jerusalem in any talks or negotiations.
“Let them say whatever they say,” he responded. “Unless it is mentioned clearly and marked in big fonts that it is the capital of the state of Palestine, there will be no peace with them and I want them to hear this.”
“Our language is understandable. We have been hearing lots of talks about the capital here and there. The (Palestinian) capital is Jerusalem and its surroundings in Jerusalem which were occupied in 1967.”
Jerusalem doesn’t mean Abu Dis, but Abu Dis is part of Jerusalem, he added, referring to a neighborhood of Jerusalem cut off by the separation wall from the rest of the city.
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.
JTA content was used in this report.