Everything you need to know about Hamas:
Hamas on Thursday called on the UN to rescind the 1947 decision to partition Palestine into two states, one for Jews and one for Arabs.
The group said in a statement, released on the 60th anniversary of the UN vote, that “Palestine is Arab Islamic land, from the river to the sea, including Jerusalem… there is no room in it for the Jews.” — Jerusalem Post
Everything you need to know about Fatah:
- Salam Fayad, Palestinian Authority “prime minister”: “Israel can define itself as it likes, but the Palestinians will not recognize it as a Jewish state.”
- Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s executive committee: “This issue [recognition as a Jewish state] is not on the table; it is raised for internal [Israeli] consumption.”
- Ahmad Qurei, chief Palestinian negotiator: “This [demand] is absolutely refused.”
- Saeb Erekat, head of the PLO Negotiations Department: “The Palestinians will never acknowledge Israel’s Jewish identity. … There is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined.” — Daniel Pipes
Everything you need to know about Arab citizens of Israel:
In a unanimous vote on Saturday, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee decided to reject an Israeli request that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” — Arutz Sheva
A large majority of Israel’s Arabs object to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over territory swaps (73 percent), a survey conducted by Mada al-Carmel – the Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Haifa – finds. Most Arabs also object to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state (65 percent) and renouncing the Right of Return (79 percent). Israeli Arabs also believe that the Palestinians cannot back down on Jerusalem-related issues, according to the poll. — Ha’aretz [my emphasis]
Israel has agreed that there is a Palestinian people and that it is entitled to self-determination in its own state. One can argue long and hard about what makes a ‘people’, but there is no doubt that the Jewish people have it in at least as great a measure — and more — than the Palestinians.
And yet nothing seems to evoke rejection quite so violent as the Israeli demand to be recognized as a Jewish state — the state of the Jewish people. This applies not only to the Palestinians, but to most Arab nations, for example, the Saudis:
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States rejected recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
“There are 1.5 million civilians in Israel who do not define themselves as Jewish,” [referring to Arabs, Christians and others] Adel al-Jubeir told reporters at the U.S.-convened Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Annapolis, Md. “We do not believe states should define themselves according to religion or ethnicity.” [!] — JTA
Leaving aside the hypocrisy — coming from the country that Jews are not allowed to enter, where Christian Bibles are prohibited, and where only Muslims can be citizens — the majority of states in the world are defined as the homeland of an ethnic group with a religious identity more or less intertwined, and the fact that they have citizens belonging to minority groups does not delegitimize them. But only Israel is denied this self-definition.
There is one simple explanation, and it is that the Arabs do not agree that there should be a Jewish Israel. They are prepared to accept a state called ‘Israel’ as long as it can be an Arab state, in which case they will quickly change the name anyway. The insistence on “right of return“, which would instantly change Israel from a Jewish to an Arab state, is proof of it.
Hamas, as always, does the best job of straightforwardly articulating the basic principle that they espouse — and share even with the ‘moderates’ of Fatah — which is that they will accept nothing less than the reversal of the creation of Israel and the outcome of the 1948 war. The pragmatic West and the optimistic Israeli Left never fathomed this, imagining the bellicose talk of the Arabs to be mere rhetoric. I would like to think that at least a few are finally beginning to understand.
Some commentators have recently started talking about how the US needs to apply “tough love” to Israel about such issues as settlements, roadblocks, prisoners, etc. But it’s the Arabs who need it, who need — for once and for all — to be forced to understand that there will be no going back to 1947. There is only one kind of peace to be had, and that is peace with Israel as a Jewish state.