The Jewish state argument stood at the margins of diplomacy as recently as 2007. But it has quickly become central to Israel-Palestinian negotiations – and a possible deal-breaker in the current round of negotiations. Both sides insist on their way, and their positions could hardly be farther apart:
"Palestine can never recognize Israel as a Jewish state." Palestinian Authority boss Mahmoud Abbas, January 20, 2014.In addition to the two principals making these statements, the past ten days have also seen the following highlights:
"If the Palestinians expect me and my people to recognize a nation state for the Palestinian people, surely we can expect them to recognize a nation state for the Jewish people. After all, we've only been here four millennia." Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, January 21, 2014.
January 13, 2014: Arab League foreign ministers tell Secretary of State John Kerry that they refuse to accept Israel as a Jewish state.For immediate release
January 15, 2014: Egypt's Al-Ahram reports that John Kerry "tried to convince officials in [Jordan and Saudi Arabia] of the Jewishness of Israel."
January 20, 2014: Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper told the Israeli parliament that "Support today for the Jewish State of Israel is more than a moral imperative. It is also a matter of strategic importance, also a matter of our own, long-term interests."
For more information, contact:
Amy Shargel, Director, Middle East Forum