Regional leaders have refused to recognise Israel as a ‘Jewish state’, backing Palestine’s stance on the matter.

The definition of Israel is a key point in the US-Palestinian peace talks, with Israel insisting the country is formalised as the national homeland of Jewish people. That would take away the right to return for Palestinian refugees.

“We express our total rejection of the call to consider Israel as a Jewish state,” said a declaration issued at the Arab Summit in Kuwait on 26 March.

On 29 April, the nine-month deadline given by Washington to negotiate terms for a final status agreement expires, but the key sticking points, including the status of Jerusalem and illegal settlers, make reaching a consensus unlikely.