By GIL HOFFMAN AND JERUSALEM POST STAFF
Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat appeared to soften his position Thursday but still rejected Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's call for explicit Palestinian recognition of Israel as "the Jewish state," saying he was baffled as to why Olmert wanted to "poke us in the eye" over the issue.
Asked by The Jerusalem Post whether he recognizes that the Jewish nation has historic rights here, Erekat said: "Israel has rights in the Middle East and the majority of Israelis are Jews. And when we recognized Israel, we recognized the composition of the state." Erekat had told an Arabic satellite TV interviewer earlier this week that the Palestinian Authority "will never acknowledge Israel's Jewish identity."
How does this simple statement "poke them in the eye"? Why is it so hard to say and affirm in writing?
He said the Palestinians were not imposing new preconditions for negotiation, and that Israel's move was akin to "me asking you to acknowledge Israeli responsibility for Palestinian suffering since 1897."
Huh? Last I heard country called Israel was established May 14, 1948 at which time all the Arab countries started a war to wipe out the Jews and the Jews fought back and won. Erekat's statement is so wrong on so many levels. He should be living in Egypt because he's certainly in de-Nile (denial).
The refugee issue, Erekat said, "must be negotiated by the parties" and "resolved in a just and agreed upon manner."
Suddenly he's negotiating. Abbas declared he wouldn't compromise.
Israel, he said, "cannot force us to accept terms."
That's because Israel treated the Arabs incorrectly from the beginning when Israel won all the wars. Israel should have treated them like loosers and make them surrender and then start from negotiating from there.
"Both sides should honor their obligations under the road map" peace plan, he said.
Now he's talking "honoring the obligations under the road map." "Honor" he doesn't know what the word means. This is the same negotiator from Arafat's reign. Arafat the Godfather of terrorism who fully funded suicide bombers and the Karin A.