NEWS & EDITOR’S COMMENT: PLO rejects recognition of Israel as religious state; Hamas and Fatah fight

Erekat: Palestinians will not accept Israel as ‘Jewish state’

Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization, rejected on Monday the government’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Erekat said that “no state in the world connects its national identity to a religious identity.”

Also Monday, dozens of prominent Palestinian residents of Jerusalem published an appeal to the Abbas, asking him not to make concessions to Israel over the holy city in the upcoming talks. [complete article]

At least half a dozen killed at Gaza rally

At least six Palestinians were killed and more than 100 wounded here on Monday when a rally by the relatively pro-Western Fatah movement to mark the third anniversary of the death of its founder, Yasir Arafat, ended in armed clashes with its rival, Hamas.

Doctors at two Gaza hospitals said all of the dead and most of the wounded were Fatah supporters who had taken part in the rally.

Tens of thousands of residents of the Gaza Strip had turned out for what became the largest show of support for Fatah since the Islamist group Hamas seized control of the territory in June. [complete article]

Editor’s Comment — No amount of analysis of the power struggle going on inside Palestinian politics can undo this simple fact: the sight of Palestinians killing Palestinians does more to corrode international sympathy than anything else.

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