The foreign ministers of the Middle East Quartet failed to reach an agreement on Monday surrounding the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and therefore did not issue a public statement on their meeting meant to renew Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Western diplomats and senior officials in Jerusalem said Tuesday.
“The goal was to give each side something that was important to them,” a Western diplomat said. “The Palestinians were supposed to get 1967 borders with land swaps and the Israelis wanted to receive in return the recognition of Israel as the Jewish homeland, but there was no agreement on this matter.”
A senior Israeli official said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took mostly pro-Palestinians positions in the Quartet talks and would not allow the inclusion of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the concluding statement of the meeting.
Could anything be more clear?
Let’s understand exactly what this means. The Arabs are being offered another state in the Middle East. There are clearly questions to be decided about precise borders and security arrangements for Israel, but that is the essence of the matter. If an agreement were to be reached along these lines, “the occupation” that the Arabs and their friends have been claiming to be the main problem in the Middle East would be over.
Why should they care that Israel is defined as a Jewish state? If Canada were to announce tomorrow that it was the state of the Inuit people, would the US have the right to object? Why do the Arabs get to decide what Israel is?
If you ask them they will say that it presupposes that there is no Arab right of return to Israel. Well, that’s clearly true — there is no such right by law and there cannot be one in practice because it is equivalent to the replacement of Israel by an Arab state.
Oh, right — that’s what they wanted all along!
So would all of you who claim that the conflict is about borders or ‘occupation’ or ‘human rights’, please, finally, shut up? It is about the existence of any Jewish state with any borders in the Middle East, as I and my ‘right-wing neo-con’ friends have been saying for years.
One more thing: if the Russians are representing the Palestinians in the Quartet, who represents Israel? Not the US, which is sticking to the Obama parameters of pre-1967 borders plus swaps. Shades of Munich, 1938!