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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Hidden intention to flood Israel with refugees
Photo: EPA
Shaul Rosenfeld
What lies behind PA refusal to recognize Jewish state?
Op-ed: Abbas, rest of Palestinian officials still deny that Jews are a national group entitled to its own state. None of them has really given up on their years-long ambition to overpower State of Israel.
While in the previous "peace editions" of Oslo 1993, Camp David 2000, Taba 2001 and Annapolis 2007, the local "peace camp" waved the peace premium and delivered the news of a promised economic paradise – in the recent edition the announcers have replaced the promised paradise with the hell awaiting us all if, God forbid, we oppose the Kerry document.

 

 

The boycott threats and warnings, which are expected to sentence us all very soon to great ostracism with a leperous mark

on our foreheads, are only the last jackstraw on the list, for now.

 

But alongside the frequent use of threats and enticements, the local "peace camp" has always surprised us with sophisticated explanations for why Israel should give up and compromise, even if the actual demand for concessions and compromises on our part has caused the other side to climb even higher trees.

 

In this spirit, the camp's members are engaged in ridiculing and dismissing Israel's demand that it must be recognized as Jewish state. "Demanding that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state is nonsense," former Mossad chief Meir Dagan ruled recently, reflecting the growing rhetoric of those whose voice in the media is immeasurably louder than their number, from Lapid to the best of the Left's strongholds and its loose ends.

 

"We will never recognize a Jewish state," Abbas said in recent days, reiterating his firm objection to Israel's demand, and none of the Israeli peace guards publicly discussed the question why, in God's name, does the "incredibly moderate" partner insisting on objecting.

 

According to the Palestinians, this issue – of all core issues – does not entail, allegedly, a fundamental concession. They also know that their chances of being portrayed as the non-guilty side, while punting the blame into Israel's court, will improve immensely when it turns out that the fate of the current round of talks will not be any different from previous rounds in the past 14 years.

 

Spirit of Palestinian treaty

The explanation for the strategic Palestinian insistence (rather than tactical, as some Israelis conveniently portray it) not to recognize a Jewish state or the Jewish nation-state stems of course from the fear that it will greatly damage the refugees' claim to return to Israel proper, but it also stems just as much from the simple fact that Abbas, like the rest of the senior PA officials, is part of a long Palestinian reality which denies that the Jews are a national group entitled to its own state.

 

None of them has really given up on their years-long ambition that the State of Israel as such will be overpowered, whether by sword or by demography, and of course with the loyal help of the local progressive forces.

 

In the entire Palestinian ethos and literature there is not a shred of real willingness for such a recognition. This literature is bursting since 1948 with discussions about "the Palestinian problem," with explanations about the horrible sin in the establishment of Israel, and about how justified it is to remove it from this world, and to the same extent about how the Jews are a religious ethnic group, rather than a people or a nation.

 

That is, of course, the spirit in the firm and abiding Palestinian treaty as well – as opposed to the Palestinians' fabrications that it was canceled in 1996. Article 20 of the treaty, for example, states that "Judaism as a heavenly religion is not a self-existing nationality, and the Jews are not one people with an independent personality, but citizens in the states they belong to."

 

Peter Beinart, one of Israel's most hateful critics in the radical Jewish Left in the US, admitted recently that "every Palestinian I know considers political Zionism itself a racist ideology built upon ethnic cleansing. In that sense, when Jewish hawks say Palestinians oppose not only Israeli control over Hebron, but Israeli control over Tel Aviv, they’re absolutely right."

 

Even if this bitter truth interests the majority of the Israeli Left like yesterday's news, the more realistic public in Israel realizes that behind the Palestinian insistence lies an organized ideology of refusing to accept Israel, even in the 1948 borders, and to the same extent – a hidden intention to flood it with refugees. Therefore, binding the Palestinians in a public and contractual recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is a minimum, elementary and justified demand.

 

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