Yesterday I mentioned the fact that no Palestinian leadership — not Hamas, not Fatah — was prepared to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. I must have been prescient. Today, the following news item appeared:
The Palestinian Authority [PA] and Hamas rejected over the weekend Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people as a precondition for resuming the stalled peace talks between the two sides…
Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state was “an admission by the Israeli prime minister that he cannot deliver on peace.” Erekat pointed out that the PLO had already recognized Israel’s right to exist when it signed the Oslo Accords, while Netanyahu was refusing to mention a Palestinian state.
Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official closely associated with Abbas, said on Saturday that the Palestinians would not return to the negotiating table until Netanyahu publicly accepted the two-state solution.
“We reject Netanyahu’s demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state,” he said. “This demand illustrates the racist nature of Israel and the extremist policies of its government. It also shows that Israel is not serious about making peace with its neighbors…”
Omar al-Ghul, an adviser to PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, said that Netanyahu’s demand was aimed at transferring the Palestinians to another country.
“No Palestinian leader can ever accept this demand even if the whole world recognizes Israel as a Jewish state,” he stressed. “The state of Israel belongs to all its citizens, the Palestinians owners of the land and the Jews living there.” — Jerusalem Post [my emphasis]
There you have it, in words that even an idiot can understand. What Salaam Fayad, the moderate of moderates, beloved by the West for his pragmatism and University of Texas Ph.D, believes is that ‘two-state solution’ means ‘two Palestinian states’. One of them, Palestine, will be entirely unpolluted by Jews, while the other — temporarily called ‘Israel’ — will be a ‘democratic state of its citizens’, including of course the almost five million hostile Arab claimants of refugee status.
The Palestinians are quite clear that there is something called a ‘Palestinian people’, although they didn’t talk much about it before 1967, and they believe that there is an inalienable right of self-determination that entitles them to a state. But for some reason, they are unable to accept that there is a Jewish people with a similar right. We can see this by their insistence that a Jewish state is ‘based on religion’, although more than half of Israel’s Jews are secular.
The Palestinians insist that the idea of a Jewish state is a racist concept, although Arabs can live in today’s Jewish state while Jews will be expelled from ‘Palestine’.
Since the Oslo accords, the PA has equivocated and temporized about recognition of Israel. Netanyahu’s demand is, finally, a sign from an Israeli government that it will no longer be possible for the Palestinians to profit from the Arafatian strategy of talking out of both sides of their mouths.
If even ‘moderate’ Palestinians like Salaam Fayad can’t understand this, then a Palestinian state is not in the cards just yet.