USA Today

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PLO ambassador says Palestinian state should be free of Jews
USA Today

The Palestine Liberation Organization’s ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that any future Palestinian state it seeks with help from the United Nations and the United States 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, » Maen Areikat, the PLO ambassador, said during a meeting with reporters sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. He was responding to a question about the rights of minorities in a Palestine of the future.

Israel has 1.3 million Muslims who are Israeli citizens. Jews have lived in « Judea and Samaria, » the biblical name for the West Bank, for thousands of years. Areikat said the PLO seeks a secular state, but that Palestinians need separation to work on their own national identity.

Israel has often complained of anti-Semitic views in Palestinian discourse. Palestinian media frequently publishes and broadcasts anti-Semitic sermons by Islamic religious leaders, while the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV shows programming for preschoolers that extolls hatred of Jews and suicide bombings, according to a 2009 State Department human rights report.

The PLO seeks a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood when the U.N. General Assembly meets in New York City next week.