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The Jewish identity of the State of Israel

January 24, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Does anyone else wonder why Benjamin Netanyahu is already insisting that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians must include recognition by the latter that the state of Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people? By insisting on no ambiguity whatsoever, the Israeli prime minister has thrown down a challenge to the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, who has said that the leaders of Israel can define their state as they like, it’s nothing to do with him.

However, Netanyahu’s insistence on Palestinian acknowledgement of the “Jewish identity” of Israel denies at a stroke the rightful claims to the land made by Palestinian Arabs, Christians and Muslims alike. In this way, he more or less annuls the land of Palestine and the rights of the Palestinian people, past, present and future. In short, by demanding Palestinian recognition of Israel’s Jewish identity, the Israeli Prime Minister is insisting that the Palestinians confer legitimacy on the very state and people responsible for their dispossession.

This condition is not current Likud Party policy or that of the ruling coalition. It is, though, the consensus of Israeli and Zionist leaders across the decades. In the latest twist, this has even been given official White House blessing clearer than it has ever been expressed before by any US President. In a modern version of the infamous Balfour Declaration, Barack Obama’s telegram to Netanyahu on Israel’s “Independence Day” said that “historic Palestine is the historical home of the Jewish people”.

This places an even greater responsibility on the (now illegitimate) Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority to explain exactly what it hopes to gain by agreeing to enter into negotiations with the Israelis when this is basically a precondition for the talks. It also suggests that the Arab governments who gave the green light for the talks have some explaining to do as well.

Recognition of the Zionist entity as a state for the Jewish people by the Palestinian negotiators or any leader of a supposed Palestinian state based on the “two-state solution” (a euphemism for “liquidation solution”) means the abandonment of the fundamental rights of the Palestinians who remained on their land in 1948 to stay on their land with full citizenship rights; they will forever be threatened with expulsion from the “land of the Jewish people”. In addition, such recognition means the abolition of the Palestinian refugees’ legitimate right of return and the Palestinians’ right to self-determination in accordance with international law.

If the Palestinian Authority’s negotiators are minded to accept Netanyahu’s requirement, it means that the Zionists’ crimes, including ethnic cleansing, war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” will simply be brushed under the carpet and forgotten. It will be international acceptance that crime does indeed pay, and all of the many sacrifices made by the Palestinians and Arabs will have been in vain.

It should never be forgotten that the aforementioned Balfour Declaration said that the British government viewed “with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people… it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. What the Zionists are insisting upon now goes way beyond that, and way beyond the UN’s 1947 partition plan for Palestine. The historic claims and legitimate rights of the Palestinians, and their struggle for justice, are now under threat.

This so-called “peace process” is a cover for a disaster even greater than those of 1948 and 1967, and nobody should put their heads in the sand and claim otherwise. Acceptance of Netanyahu’s condition is tantamount to treason against the Palestinian people, their land and their cause. This is not political bargaining; it is the politics of annihilation.


The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.