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  • January 2, 2014

    Recognition of a Jewish State

    The author and the NYT are know for their bias in favour of the Palestinian position and for their support for the Obama administration. They often distort and misrepresent facts. In this case the author tries to make the point that who or what Israel is about is for Israel to decide and she doesn’t need the PA to agree. That would be true normally but since the PA denys the Jewish narrative in order to make claims on what is now Israel, it is imperative that they now abandon such claims by recognizing Israel as a Jewish State. Put it another way, Israel is entitled to demand an end of conflict agreement which of necessity requires such recognition. Ted Belman

    Sticking Point in Peace Talks


    JERUSALEM — As Middle East peace talks churn on, Israel has catapulted to the fore an issue that may be even more intractable than old ones like security and settlements: a demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made such recognition the pillar of his public statements in recent weeks, calling it “the real key to peace,” “the minimal requirement” and “an essential condition.” Israeli, American and Palestinian officials all say it has become a core issue in the negotiations that started last summer.

    But Mr. Netanyahu’s argument that this single issue underpins all others is exactly what makes it unacceptable to Palestinians. At its heart, it is a dispute over a historical narrative that each side sees as fundamental to its existence.

    Critics skeptical of Mr. Netanyahu’s commitment to a two-state solution to the long-running conflict say that recognition of a Jewish state is a poison pill that he is raising only to scuttle the talks. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has repeatedly said that the Palestinians will never agree to it, most recently in a letter to President Obama last month.

    The Palestinians cite both pragmatic and philosophical reasons: They contend that recognizing Israel as a Jewish state would disenfranchise its 1.6 million Arab citizens, undercut the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees and, most important, require a psychological rewriting of the story they hold dear about their longtime presence in the land.

    But Israeli leaders say that the refugee question can be resolved separately and that the status of Israel’s Arab minority can be protected. Without acceptance by the Palestinians that their neighbor is and will be, in Israel’s favored formulation, “the nation-state of the Jewish people,” Israelis argue that they can never be convinced that an agreement truly spells the end of the conflict.

    “The core of this conflict has never been borders and settlements — it’s about one thing: the persistent refusal to accept the Jewish state in any border,” Mr. Netanyahu said last month in a video statement to the Saban Forum in Washington.

    He added: “We recognize that in peace there will be a nation-state for the Palestinian people. Surely we’re entitled to expect them to do the same.”

    The gulf between the two sides on the issue highlights a broader question critical to the outcome of the talks: whether a peace deal must reconcile conflicting versions of the past, or whether it can allow each version some legitimacy and focus on paving a path forward.

    By emphasizing recognition, Mr. Netanyahu has also exposed several profound, unresolved questions: Can Israel preserve its identity as a Jewish democratic state while also providing equal rights and opportunities to citizens of other faiths and backgrounds? With a largely secular population, who interprets Jewish law and custom for public institutions and public spaces? Is Judaism a religion, an ethnicity or both?

    “The founders of the state of Israel and the founders of Zionism felt that once we have a state, the puzzle of Jewish identity will be solved,” said Yedidia Z. Stern, a vice president of the Israel Democracy Institute. “They were totally wrong.”

    “We don’t know what it means to be a Jewish state,” he said. “But does that mean we have to give it up? No way. I would leave. The reason I’m here is because this state is a Jewish state and not a neutral one.”

    Many European countries, as well as Israel, grant a fast track for citizenship or otherwise give privileged status to people born elsewhere with shared roots. Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence asserted the “establishment of a Jewish state,” and Resolution 181 of the United Nations General Assembly, which in 1947 recommended the partition of Palestine, uses the term “Jewish state” 30 times. Mr. Obama and some of his predecessors have endorsed this definition.

    But decades later, Israel is still grappling with what the term means. In October, its Supreme Court rejected a request by 21 citizens to be listed as “Israeli” in the national population registry, saying that to do so would belie Israel’s founding principle as a Jewish state for the Jewish people. Last year, an Arab justice on the court highlighted the conundrum when he declined to sing Israel’s national anthem, which speaks of the “yearning of the Jewish soul” to be “a free nation in our land.” Several bills pending in Parliament seek to define Israel more clearly as both Jewish and democratic, with varied emphasis on each.

    Yair Lapid, a top minister in Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition, has distanced himself from the recognition demand, saying in an October interview, “My father did not come to Haifa from the Budapest ghetto in order to get recognition from” Mr. Abbas.

    Palestinian leaders say that they have long recognized Israel’s right to exist, and that defining its character is not their responsibility, noting that Israel did not make similar requests of Egypt and Jordan when signing peace treaties with them decades ago.

    “Don’t countries define themselves?” asked Hind Khoury, a former Palestinian minister and ambassador. “Why doesn’t Israel call itself at the U.N. whatever they want to call it — the Jewish whatever, Maccabean, whatever they want. Then the whole world will recognize it.”

    “We will never recognize Israel the way they want, I mean genuinely, from our hearts,” she added. “Why for them to feel secure do we have to deny our most recent history?”

    Polls by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research show that Palestinian support for such recognition has dropped over the past decade to a low of 40 percent last September, from a high of 65 percent.

    “It seems the public differentiates between recognition of a fact (Israel has a Jewish majority) and recognition of a narrative (Israel has a right to a state for the Jewish people in historic Palestine),” Khalil Shikaki, the center’s director, said in an email. “Netanyahu’s conception requires the Palestinians to endorse a Zionist narrative, which they reject.”

    But 73 percent of Israeli Jews supported Mr. Netanyahu’s demand, in 2010, that Palestinian recognition be a condition of an extension of a construction freeze in Israel’s West Bank settlements, according to the Israel Democracy Institute’s Peace Index.

    While previous Israeli prime ministers, including Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, also declared recognition a key component of any final-status agreement, several people involved in the current negotiations said it has never been at the top of the agenda. Israel has also begun asking European nations to officially recognize it as a Jewish state, and Palestinian officials say the United States plans to include recognition as part of a framework agreement that Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to present to the two sides soon.

    Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said in an interview that even setting aside the plight of the refugees and the rights of Israeli Arabs, recognition is a problem of principle. “It’s my narrative, it’s my history, it’s my story,” he said. “I’ve never heard in the history of mankind that others must participate in defining the nature of others. It’s really ridiculous.”

    Shlomo Brom, the director of the program on Israeli-Palestinian relations at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, said, “The problem is mutual distrust.”

    “Because of their distrust of the Israeli side, they believe there is a hidden agenda behind this demand,” Mr. Brom said of the Palestinians. For Israelis, he said, “the crux of the matter is distrust in the willingness of the Palestinians to really recognize the right of the Jews to have their own state, even to recognize the linkage of the Jews to this piece of territory.”

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  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 12:08 pm | 12 Comments »

    12 Comments to Recognition of a Jewish State

    1. NormanF says:

      The Palestinian Arabs have long insisted the Jews are a religion not a nation.

      And as long as they refuse to accord equal rights to the Jewish nation, peace is impossible.

      The reason for the demand is simple: unlike other Arabs, the Palestinian Arabs reject the legitimacy of Zionism and the Jewish national narrative. They have done so for the last century. This is coupled with their maximalist territorial claims to all of Israel embodied the “right of return.”

      Given the essentially negative nature of Palestinian Arab nationalism and their glorification of anti-Semitism, embracing the murderers of Jews as heroes and their commitment to Israel’s destruction, all of which it reflects, what Israel is really seeking is a change in how the Arabs relate to the Jewish people and their state. Israel sees the two state formula as a two states for two peoples formula.

      As long as the Palestinian Arabs refuse to accept a Jewish State as legitimate no matter where its borders are drawn, there will never be peace. In the “Jewish State” demand above all, Israel wants a final end to the conflict and to close the door to future Arab claims upon Israel. None of this has anything with Israel’s national character, which is self-evident or with Arab minority rights. This is not a diversion or a tangential point but goes directly to the heart of the conflict.

      Which is not at all about territory, settlements, borders or security but about Israel’s very existence. Israeli Jews see the Arab unwillingness to meet Israel directly on the subject as a litmus test of their intentions. Which is exactly why this elephant in the negotiating room is so much more important than all the others. In the currency of the Middle East, words matter. Israel has shown that its willing to go a long way to attain real peace. The Palestinian Arabs have yet to cross that Rubicon.

    2. Bear Klein says:

      I wonder what other Israpundit readers feel about the sovereignty plan?

      Sovereignty – a Political Journal Issue no. 2

      The Sovereignty Journal is a direct continuation of the activities by the Movement for Israel’s Tomorrow (Women in Green).

      After many years of activities in the field safeguarding the Land of Israel, we have also started a campaign to advance the vision of the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

      Application of sovereignty is the Zionist alternative to the dangerous plan to establish a Palestinian state in the heart of our Biblical homeland. Within the pages of the issues of Sovereignty we will hold an ideological and practical discussion on the topic of sovereignty. The questions raised in this discussion, cannot overshadow the primary and basic principle that Israeli sovereignty must be applied over Judea and Samaria for one simple reason – because this is our Land.

    3. Bill Narvey says:

      If Abbas were to declare that he on behalf of Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and its right to exist as such, who would believe he meant what he said and said what he meant?

      So why does Netanyahu insist on this kind of recognition? Words matter to the West but Abbas has proven his words are worthless. While Israel should of course maintain that demand on Abbas and the Palestinians, there are a number of equally critical promises and agreements that Israel must receive from Abbas, plus binding agreements that make those promises enforceable. The enforceability of prior Palestinian agreements that specified consequences for their breach was never incorporated in any meaningful way in past agreements.

    4. mikewise says:

      “Yair Lapid, a top minister in Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition, has distanced himself from the recognition demand, saying in an October interview, “My father did not come to Haifa from the Budapest ghetto in order to get recognition from Mr. Abbas.”

      Lapid is rapidly disintegrating. There is very little that he deeply understands.
      His father did not need ABBAS to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. Israel does not need anyone to tell it what it is.
      Netanyahu’s requirement is that ABBAS tell the Arabs and the Moslem world that Israel is a Jewish State! He will never do that. No Arab leader has ever recognized Israel as a Jewish State. It violates Islamic replacement theology. The Koran and the Moslem theologians preach that because the Jews corrupted the word of God, it is unacceptable that Jews should ever return to Judea and have sovereignty over the Land.
      Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State is a code word for end of conflict. It has been the Arab position since the Balfour Declaration.

    5. bernard ross says:

      Recognition of a Jewish State

      This is meaningless and by making this important one gives power to the arabs. All they have to do is recognize Israel as a Jewish state in a treaty and then among arabs call it Taquiya. The same with the security issue, the US can propose security solutions and then blame Israel for being unreasonable. In the current negotiation tactic these have become the main issue and the “solution” to those issues are in the hands of the foreigners. If these 2 issues are addressed then Israel appears to have no other reason for not giving up land such as: the legal and historical rights of the jewish people to the jewish homeland. Thes 2 issues serve the purposes of the swindlers of the Jewish people out of their land.

      Sometimes I wonder if these two issues were invented by the GOI as a way to say “see, they recognized Israel as a jewish state, and the US will guarantee our security, so now we can give up the Jewish homeland.

    6. bernard ross says:

      mikewise Said:

      Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State is a code word for end of conflict. It has been the Arab position since the Balfour Declaration.

      taquiya is an easy way around it for them, it is only meaningful to the Jews.

    7. bernard ross says:

      Bear Klein Said:

      Sovereignty – a Political Journal Issue no. 2
      The Sovereignty Journal is a direct continuation of the activities by the Movement for Israel’s Tomorrow (Women in Green).

      I do not understand your links they appear to be 2 links leading to the same download and the down load appears to start at #4 or #2 . Where is the beginning and what is included.
      Before reading this I tend to support a priority of settling the Jews over declaring sovereignty for tactical reasons as follows:
      1- sovereignty means pressure to deal with the pal issue and my own view is that their issue is not a priority.
      2- Jewish settlement and immigration is what is legally agreed in international law and I have seen no legal arguments presented against these. Conversely it appears that the rights of the state of Israels as opposed to the rights of the Jewish people are where all the GC arguments arise and are used as a red herring to confuse the original jewish rights. Therefore, my view is to remove those weapons from the detractors. If Jews are settled then everything else can occur naturally therefrom. There can be massive settlement with free land grants to diaspora jews willing to make aliya like the US Homestead Act. This would help aliya to YS. There is no reason to delay Jewish settlement while waiting for agreements regarding sovereignty or peace. they are separate issues. The statie of Israel is proving that jewish settlement in YS is of no importance and is using its perceived self interest to swindle the Jews. Therefore, Israeli sovereignty over the YS is not currently of value and future Israelis may continue to swindle the Jews of YS. The state of Israel is a proven swindler of Jewish rights to YS.
      3- Jewish settlement should not be subordinate to the desires of the existing Israel electorate. It is a global jewish right and should not be confused with Israeli self perceived interests. Any entity in charge of the west bank is theoretically legally obligated to encourage the settlement of Jews. In fact, it is conceivable that Jews settle YS and in some future generation choose to have a separate govt from Israel. At their majority the self-determination issue comes into play as the original mandate envisioned. Israel could even state that it currently has no interest in sovereignty or will leave that to the future while at the same time fulfilling its legal obligations to global Jewry under international law. It could claim to be the mandate successor which administrates the west bank until the Jews are a majority in that area. It could be the facilitator and protector of Jewish settlement just as the UK was originally supposed to be and even the Jordanian occupation was legally obligated to facilitate. Israel could start a massive affirmative action settlement program to mitigate past damage of obstruction and restore justice without being legally obligated to defend any claims to sovereignty. Jewish settlement in YS is a separate right from state rights and claims of Israel and the confusion between the two has served to further the narratives of the detractors to jewish settlement.
      Jewish settlement without Israeli sovereignty can be successful but Israeli sovereignty without Jewish settlement is futile. The state of Israel has proven that its’ interest does not coincide with the Jewish people wrt YS. However, as an occupier it is legally obligate to protect the Jews. It wishes to withdraw so it is no longer obligated to protect the Jews. Even a state of Israel withdrawal can still petition the UN to fulfill the legal obligations and the rights of Jews in YS. If Israel has any morality it will protect Jewish rights in YS even if it does not want YS.

    8. yamit82 says:

      @ bernard ross:
      @ mikewise:
      Islam’s doctrines of deception

      by Raymond Ibrahim
      Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst
      Lying (Taqiyya and Kitman)

      Are Muslims permitted to lie? Muslim scholars teach that Muslims should generally be truthful to each other, unless the purpose of lying is to “smooth over differences.”

      There are two forms of lying to non-believers that are permitted under certain circumstances, taqiyya and kitman. These circumstances are typically those that advance the cause Islam – in some cases by gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them. Muslims are allowed to lie to unbelievers in order to defeat them. The two forms are:

      Taqiyya – Saying something that isn’t true.

      Kitman – Lying by omission. An example would be when Muslim apologists quote only a fragment of verse 5:32 (that if anyone kills “it shall be as if he had killed all mankind”) while neglecting to mention that the rest of the verse (and the next) mandate murder in undefined cases of “corruption” and “mischief.” Muhammad allowed a believer to lie to a non-spouse are limited to those that either advance the cause of Islam or enable a Muslim to avoid harm to his well-being (and presumably that of other Muslims as well). This should be kept very much in mind when dealing with matters of global security, such as Iran’s nuclear intentions.

      mikewise Said:

      No Arab leader has ever recognized Israel as a Jewish State.

      Social Security has never missed making a payment. Till now!

    9. bernard ross says:

      @ Bear Klein: you posted the same link twice again

    10. yamit82 says:

      NormanF Said:

      The Palestinian Arabs have long insisted the Jews are a religion not a nation.

      How many christians agree with them?
      How many Jews agree with them?

    11. Mickey Oberman says:

      Damn the so called Palestinians.

      They are a rag tag conglomeration of misfits from a number of Arab countries.

      They are incapable of agreeing with each other let alone with Israel.

      They cannot be ignored but they must not be accommodated. They must be rebuffed, with whatever force is necessary to impress them, over and over again until they realize that their militancy and their hatred accomplish nothing.

      They will continue to whine and demand and beg for handouts as long as those tactics work. But the world should be continuously reminded that whatever is given them is stolen from much more needy people in our sad world.