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What the PLO Ambassador Said About Removing Jews from a Palestinian State

2:57 PM, Sep 23, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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After the meeting concluded, as Areikat was heading to his car, Weinstein approached him seeking clarification: 

WEINSTEIN: Could I get a quick clarification Mr. Ambassador? When I asked a question about whether a Jew could be elected mayor of Ramallah, you said there would be a period of separation. Does that mean that for a period there would be no Jews in the West Bank and Gaza?  

AREIKAT: We have to be separated. We have to work on developing our own national identitities and then after that we have to cooperate together, we have to live together. 

Weinstein asked again: "Would Jews be allowed in a Palestinian state?"

Areikat replied: "Listen, again, we have nothing against Jews. This is a political conflict. Once the political issues are resolved, every Palestinian should be welcomed in Israel. Every Israeli should be welcomed in Palestine. But under the current circumstances — an occupation power occupying a people against their will — this is something we are trying to end."

Other Palestinian officials have since repudiated Areikat's comments. "The future Palestinian state will be open to all its citizens, regardless of their religion," said Mahmoud Habbash, the Palestinian Authority's minister of religious affairs, according to USA Today. "We want a civil state, which in it live all the faiths, Muslim, Christian and Jews also if they agree, (and) accept to be Palestinian citizens."

But let's not pretend that that PLO's ambassador hasn't called for a Jew-free Palestinian state, when he clearly has done so on more than one occasion.

Correction: This post originally identified Laura Rozen as a writer at Politico.

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