A crucial aspect of the current discussions is Netanyahu’s request for Abbas to accept Israel as the state of the Jewish People. This has been resisted by Abbas and Erekat, and has been largely downgraded by those who are pushing the priority of the settlements.
An important article that sheds light on the Palestinian response has been written by Ali Salim, entitled Why the Palestinians refuse to recognise Israel as a Jewish State
In the article, Salim states “The real reason for their refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish country, however, is that the rais [chief], President Mahmoud Abbas, the man who claims to be the leader of the Palestinian people, has never abandoned the demand for the return of the Palestinians to “Palestine,” that is, the entire State of Israel, so that it might be destroyed.”
.. This definition of Israel as the state of the Jewish People is one that needs to be more widely discussed and recognised. The lack of appreciate of its significance is illustrated by a recent headline here from the UE Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Anderson, saying “Europe doesn’t understand PM’s demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state”.
Already there is a strong Kerry and EU push to “blame” Israel for any failure in the peace process. If Abbas ends up rejecting Israel’s requirement for recognition as a Jewish state, this rejection will need to emphasised as a key cause of any breakdown that occurs.