Balad is an Israeli political party with an Arab nationalist point of view.
Yes, that’s correct. Since Israel is a democracy, Arab citizens of Israel can vote for an Arab nationalist party (Jews can, too, for that matter).
Balad thinks there should be a Palestinian state alongside Israel. They also believe that the position of Arab citizens within the Jewish state is inherently oppressive, and that only by changing Israel from a Jewish state to a ‘state of its citizens’, can the rights of Israeli Arabs be ensured. So their point of view towards the Israeli demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state is not surprising:
The Balad council decided to urge the Palestinian negotiating team in Annapolis not to make concessions that could harm the rights of the Palestinian people, and especially not to give in to the Israeli demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The Balad council also sent messages to the Israeli delegation to Annapolis to help the Palestinians.
“Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and not a state for all its citizens is a step toward transferring Israeli Arabs,” MK Wasal Taha said. “We endorsed the summit, but as Palestinians, we are suspicious that it can fail like past conferences and lead to a new cycle of bloodshed. We warned them that they have to maintain the rights of the Palestinian people.” — Jerusalem Post [my emphasis]
I have pointed out before that there is a difference between protection of minority rights, in such areas as of public services, education, housing, employment, etc., and providing for the fulfillment of national aspirations of minorities, and that a democratic state is only required to provide the former. Israel’s very reason for being is as a homeland for the Jewish people, with the special character that this implies.
Certainly the Palestinian state that Balad wishes to see established in the territories will be a state of the Palestinian people, with appropriate symbols and character. If these things are not important to the Palestinians, why do they want a state? Why won’t they be happy living in Israel, Jordan, etc.? They really can’t insist on self-determination for Palestinians while denying it to Jews.
We Jews can certainly sympathize with Balad, whose members apparently feel that they have some important needs which cannot be met when they live in a country whose national anthem is Hatikva. Jews, at least Zionist ones, understand why a people needs a state.
The thing is, this issue was settled in 1948. There is a Jewish state whose anthem is Hatikva. There could have been a Palestinian Arab state then, or in 2000, had they wanted it more than they want there to not be a Jewish state, but apparently this is not the case.
The conflict will not end until one of the following happens:
- The Palestinians, inside and outside of Israel accept that a state of the Jewish people was established in 1948, and decide to create a Palestinian Arab state outside of it instead of trying to reverse the outcome of the war.
- The Arab world succeeds in destroying the Jewish state, and the Palestinians establish their state on the wreckage.
- There is a war which includes the use of weapons of mass destruction. Tens of millions are killed, mostly on the Arab side. The entire region descends to a pre-civilized level. Because of the effect on the oil supply, the rest of the world also changes drastically.
The problem is that the Palestinian and Israeli Arab leadership and intelligentsia think that they do not have to take no. 1, because they can get no. 2. They are encouraged in this by Iran and Saudi Arabia, who are vying to be the ones to solve the Jewish problem.
But they cannot get no. 2. Trying too hard will only get them no. 3.
Maybe the rest of the world, which has an interest in avoiding no. 3, should explain this to them.