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Abbas concedes Jews' right to Israel

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Abbas concedes Jews' right to Israel
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas looks over notes before speaking to the media after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on June 9, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 10 (UPI) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he wouldn't deny the "Jewish right" to Israel but insisted peace requires ceding of East Jerusalem.

Abbas met Wednesday in Washington with about 30 Jewish leaders from the Anti-Defamation League, America's Pro-Israel Lobby and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in a 2-hour roundtable discussion, Haaretz reported.

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Asked how he could show he is serious about peace, Abbas said he already addressed the Israeli public on television and asked why Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wouldn't "go to Palestinian TV and do the same?"

"I would never deny (the) Jewish right to the land of Israel," he said.

In an interview later Wednesday on PBS, Abbas said Israel must cede East Jerusalem as a precondition for peace talks, Haaretz said.

"East Jerusalem is occupied territory. The entire world recognizes that including the United States of America," Abbas said. "We cannot accept any solution that excludes East Jerusalem."

In an appearance at the Brookings Institution, Abbas said, "We are offering Israel a 57-state solution," referring to the Arab peace initiative offering to normalize ties in exchange for giving up East Jerusalem.

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"Nobody wants war, at least speaking on behalf of the Arab countries," Haaretz reported Thursday.

Abbas said the main demand of the Palestinians is "to end the blockade on Gaza," and "now the entire world stands with us."

Referring the recent clash aboard a Gaza-bound ship attempting to break a three-year blockade after Israeli commandos allege they were attacked with knives and clubs on boarding the ship, Abbas said, "(Israel) attacked innocent people who were unarmed and had no aggressive intentions."

He called for an outside investigation, saying "Israel cannot investigate itself."

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