While his negotiators are in Washington meeting with Israeli officials and Secretary of State John Kerry, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas laid out his vision for a future Palestinian state in which he insists no Israelis will be allowed to remain.
"In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli - civilian or soldier - on our lands," Abbas said in a briefing to mostly Egyptian journalists while on a visit to Cairo Monday.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (File photo: Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images
Already Israelis are criticizing Abbas's statement. The right-wing Israeli news site Arutz 7 had this headline: "Abbas: Palestine will be Judenrein: PA [Palestinian Authority] head presents reporters with a racist and hateful vision of a future Palestinian state." Judenrein was a term used by the Nazis in promoting a Germany cleansed of Jews.
Arutz 7 points out that even today "Jews are not permitted to live inside the PA [Palestinian Authority]-controlled territory, and the sale of land to Jews is punishable by death."
While Palestine will be "Judenrein," Arutz 7 also notes that Israel will remain "anything but 'Arabrein.' Arabs make up about 20% of the Jewish state, enjoy full equal rights and regularly elect representatives to the Knesset who openly despise the state in whose parliament they serve, support terrorists and issue calls to their fellow Arabs to rise up against the Jewish state."
Abbas on Monday was equally adamant about the future of east Jerusalem, which Israel considers to be part of its united capital city.
"We've already made all the necessary concessions," Abbas said according to Reuters.
"East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine ... if there were and must be some kind of small exchange (of land) equal in size and value, we are ready to discuss this - no more, no less," he said.
Secretary of State John Kerry during one of his meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The photo in Abbas's office is of the Dome of the Rock which sits on Judaism's holiest site, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (File photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty)
Continuing along Abbas's reasoning, if no Israelis are allowed to live in east Jerusalem, it would most likely mean that access for Jews to their most holy site, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, would be severely limited.
Abbas's Israeli-free Palestine comment is similar to one made two years ago by the PLO Ambassador to the United States from which Palestinian officials later tried to distance themselves.
PLO Ambassador Maen Areikat said at a 2011 meeting with reporters that any future Palestinian state should be free of Jews.
"After the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated," Areikat said, according to USA Today which reported two years ago that he was responding to a question about the rights of minorities in a future state.
Former National Security Council Official Elliott Abrams said then that Palestine would thus be the first state since Nazi Germany to officially prohibit Jews or any other faith.
One of the Palestinian preconditions for restarting peace talks moderated by the U.S. was a total freeze on any construction in Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem, a condition to which the Israeli government has not agreed.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government on Sunday approved the release of 104 long-serving Palestinian prisoners, many of them with Israeli blood on their hands meeting one of the Palestinians' preconditions for the resumption of talks.
Abbas said that he would not support a symbolic gesture of freezing construction in smaller settlements, while Israel would continue to build up larger Israeli communities in the territory it captured during the 1967 war.
"There was a request, 'We'll only build here, what do you think?' If I agreed, I would legitimize all the rest (of the settlements). I said no. I said out loud and in writing that, to us, settlements in their entirety are illegitimate," he said.
While Abbas says he would like to see no Israeli residents or security forces in a future Palestinian state, he is open to a UN peacekeeping-style arrangement like exists presently on Israel's borders with Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.
"An international, multinational presence like in Sinai, Lebanon and Syria - we are with that," he said.
Past Israeli governments have voiced a desire to maintain control of the Jordan Valley border area with Jordan in order to keep weapons out that could be used by terrorists, even if it were to hand land from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) to the Palestinians.
But Abbas says that instead NATO forces could be deployed there "as a security guarantee to us and them."
Those participating in the talks are Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Netanyahu aide Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Shtayyeh. As TheBlaze reported Monday, pro-Israel bloggers are questioning the intentions of Shtayyeh who displays on his Facebook page a full map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza emblazoned with the word "Palestine."
Kerry has visited the Middle East six times leading up to the resumption of talks in Washington this week after a three year hiatus.