Sunday, March 16, 2014

The debate is about our right to exist

Dror Eydar

This is what you found? A murmured response to the question by PLO leader Yasser Arafat in 1988, and an additional hum directed toward Haaretz journalists? And after this, they'll be angry that people talk about U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in terms of messianic obsession.
Why should it be necessary to search high and low for Palestinian recognition of a Jewish state? Because there is none. One can read the declarations of the Palestinian Authority and its leaders over the past 20 years. Indeed, opposing recognition of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people is more important to the Palestinians than land, since this is the true heart of the conflict, rather than the other territorial nonsense that the Left has been selling for years. It's not about territory and not about settlements and not about refugee rights, not at all.

The hundred-year-old argument is about the Jewish people's right to an independent home in the Land of Israel. Not only the Palestinians -- no Arab state recognizes our right as Jews to any part of the region. They obscure the issue and talk about "recognizing Israel," since the desire is to perpetuate the conflict even after a diplomatic treaty is signed, when the false claim will be that the Arab minority in Israel is suffering under "apartheid" and should have autonomy, since they belong to the Palestinian people who have been here since the dawn of creation. The international battle against Israel will continue to dismantle its Jewish identity on the way to making it a state for all its nationalities. There will be no end to the conflict without recognition of a Jewish state. This should be at the top of the Left's priorities.
Kerry should read the Palestinian National Charter, the founding document of the "moderate" Fatah. It was ratified by the Sixth General Assembly of the Fatah Movement in Bethlehem in August 2009, when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was again elected head of the organization. This conference approved a plan that included the principle of "absolute irrevocable opposition to recognition of Israel as a 'Jewish state' to protect the rights of refugees and the rights of our people [Israeli Arabs] beyond the Green Line."
Here, Mr. Kerry, is the rationale for the Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state: They will continue to demand that refugees return even after a deal is signed and turn the parts of Israel around the Green Line into a binational state. Abbas and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat both voted in favor of the plan.
And here is a quote from the Palestinian platform that thus far, despite repeated promises, has not been changed: "Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong." The Jews are not a people but a religion, and therefore have no national rights. Clear and simple. Just read it.
The insistence upon recognition of a Jewish state isn't meant for us. We don't need recognition from Ramallah. The call to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is intended to block the PLO's progressive tactic in which each territory it receives serves as the base for the next demand. And not recognition in empty words, but a requirement that this recognition make its way into the Palestinian school studies and media. As of now, the state of Israel doesn't exist in the PA. So the Israeli insistence on recognition is non-negotiable. Without this, it is better to maintain the status quo. The so-called threat that without a diplomatic deal Israel's situation will worsen has been made for a hundred years already. Don't try to scare us. We've managed all right so far.
Ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's arrival, the American administration sought to pressure Israel by releasing an aggressive interview President Barack Obama gave to Jeffrey Goldberg. And now, as Abbas is on his way, John Kerry is putting out statements to press Israel -- imagine that -- into relieving the Palestinians of their responsibility. It's not only a matter of justice and fair mediation, it's much more serious. John Kerry's recent remarks have helped the PLO's step-by-step approach.

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