A key element that has emerged in the Kerry/Obama inspired negotiations is the Israeli demand and the Palestinian refusal for the Palestinians to recognise Israel as the Jewish state… the state of the Jewish people. I thought that Abbas would fake some sort of aquiescence as part of their stealth camaign, but he really couldn’t do it.
It will be worth discussing this issue in detail, because it is going to become a sticking point in the blame game when the negotiations break down… and supporters of Israel are going to have to push back against those seeking to blame Israel.
CAMERA makes a good effort at explaning it here
An example of the push against Netanyahu is the introduction from the article ” Recent headlines and political statements have suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s request for recognition as a Jewish state is a new and unnecessary requirement imposed by Israel upon the Palestinians. It has been characterized as an obstacle to peace and worse, as a ploy by Netanyahu to avoid negotiating with the Palestinians.”
The article continues
“Why does Israel insist on Palestinians’ recognition of a Jewish nation-state? Isn’t it enough for them to recognize the state of Israel?
Israel’s position is that Palestinian recognition of the Jewish right to self-determination parallels Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian right to self-determination, forming the basis of a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The refusal by Palestinian negotiators to recognize Israel as the eternal homeland of the Jewish people thus lies at the heart of the conflict. A peace agreement that is not predicated upon acceptance of a sovereign Jewish state in the Middle East is seen as evidence that Palestinians do not view two neighboring sovereign states – Jewish and Palestinian – as a long term solution to the conflict, but rather as a temporary truce that can be altered at a more opportune time.
These fears about Palestinian motives are bolstered by the statements of Palestinian officials. For example, former Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister/chief negotiator Nabil Shaath went on record on Arabic TV in 2011 to declare that Palestinians would never accept “two states for two peoples” that included a Jewish state. As he put it then:
The story of “two states for two peoples” means that there will be a Jewish people over there and a Palestinian people here. We will never accept this – not as part of the French initiative and not as part of the American initiative. (Arabic News Broadcast TV, July 13, 2011; recorded and translated by MEMRI)
For his part, PA President Abbas argues that he has already recognized the state of Israel but will never accept the Jewish character of the state or recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. His most recent rejection is endorsed by the Arab League.
Among the reasons given by Abbas for his adamant refusal to accept a Jewish state are that it would change the Palestinian narrative and be an affront to Palestinians living inside Israel, who “were on the land 1,500 years before Israel was established” (in yet another denial of Jewish history in the region.) In addition, Palestinian leaders have argued that recognizing a Jewish state would necessitate relinquishing the so-called “right of return”– the option of allowing Palestinians who fled Israel in 1948, and their millions of descendents to resettle in the State of Israel. Abbas just recently reassured his people again he would never recognize a Jewish state and that the option of moving into the state of Israel would remain open.
But refusal by the Palestinians to accept Israel as a Jewish state, coupled with their unwillingness to relinquish the so-called right of return into Israel’s borders evokes former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat’s “phased” strategy for ultimately taking over the Jewish state. This is spelled out in the Palestine National Council’s 1974 ten point program, known as the “Phased Plan” for Israel’s destruction. Its basis is to first create a Palestinian state on any territory that is handed over by Israel (Article 2) and then to use that state to “complete the liberation of all Palestinian territory.” (Article 8).
Arafat revealed how the peace agreement he had signed would enable his plan of eliminating a Jewish state at a closed door meeting with Arab diplomats in Stockholm in 1996. He is widely quoted as follows:
We of the PLO will now concentrate all our efforts on splitting Israel psychologically into two camps. Within five years we will have six to seven million Arabs living on the West Bank and in Jerusalem. All Palestinian Arabs will be welcomed back by us. If the Jews can import all kinds of Ethiopians, Russians, Uzbekians and Ukranians as Jews, then we can import all kinds of Arabs to us. We plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian State. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion; Jews will not want to live among us Arabs.
I have no use for Jews; they are and remain Jews. We now need all the help we can get from you in our battle for a united Palestine under total Arab-Moslem domination.
Two years later– a decade after presumably having accepted a two state solution and several years after signing the peace accord with Israel, he explained what the Oslo peace accords meant to him on Egyptian Orbit TV. In that 1998 interview, Arafat invoked the Palestine National Council’s “phased plan” and compared the Oslo Accords to the ” Hudaybiyyah” treaty of the Prophet Mohammed with the Quraysh tribe, a hudna , or temporary truce, that remained in effect just until Mohammed’s men were strong enough to defeat the tribe.