JERUSALEM, Israel -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told members of the House Foreign Relations Committee Thursday that Israel should get over insisting on recognition as the Jewish nation-state because it was "resolved in 1947" and the late Yasser Arafat agreed on two separate occasions.
"'Jewish state' was resolved in 1947 in Resolution 181 where there are more than 40-- 30 mentions of 'Jewish state,'" Kerry continued. "… chairman Arafat in 1988 and again in 2004 confirmed that he agreed it would be a Jewish state -- and there are any other number of mentions."
Kerry waited to make this point until about six weeks before the nine-month timeframe to reach a deal is up. Some say the timing may be an attempt to undercut the importance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's insistence for what he's called "a minimal requirement for peace."
It also comes at a time when both the current Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the wider Arab world say they'll never recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
At the hearing, Kerry admitted the talks had progressed very little and the outlook for signing the interim framework agreement is looking increasingly unlikely.
"The level of mistrust is as large as any level of mistrust I've ever seen, on both sides," Kerry told committee members -- and the world at large. "Neither believes the other is really serious. Neither believes the other is prepared to make some of the big choices that have to be made here," he said.
The Jerusalem Post contributed to this report.