About six weeks ago I caught PLO official Nabil Shaath (former PM of the Palestinian Authority) explaining that the Palestinians do not, and will not, accept the idea of two states for two peoples.
Shaath gave an interview on Army Radio yesterday and made three notable statements:
1. Asked why the Palestinian leadership refuses to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, Shaath responded that the Jewish people, on their own, decided “that they have really built their state that is not only for the Jewish people because 22 percent of Israelis are not Jewish.”
Jewish tradition is clear about the need to treat the ‘stranger that resides in your midst’ justly. It is therefore possible to have a Jewish state, a homeland for the Jewish people, whose national symbols and national character are Jewish, which nevertheless has some non-Jewish inhabitants who are treated fairly. Indeed, it would not be a truly ‘Jewish’ state otherwise!
But Shaath cannot understand this, because his idea of a national state is one that will expel everyone who is not a Palestinian Arab.
2. Presented with statements attributed to the Palestinian Authority envoy to the United States last week that a Palestinian state would be without Jews, Shaath said that Maen Areikat “never said ‘Jewish free,’” but rather “that at the beginning of our peace, we want to separate.”
But Areikat did say, quite explicitly, that Jews would not be permitted to live in ‘Palestine’, in an interview in Tablet magazine last year. And he said it in the context of explaining a similar statement about ‘separation’. He was speaking in English on both occasions. He was not misquoted, quoted out of context or mistranslated.
3. Asked whether settlers would be allowed to live in a future Palestinian state, [Shaath] added, “If [settlers] decide to accept Palestinian citizenship and buy the territory that they have and live as individual citizens, then why not?”
Why not? Well, for one thing, because PA residents are forbidden by law — on pain of death — to sell land to Jews.