Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel has offered to renew the moratorium on building settlements in the West Bank in order for peace talks with the Palestinians to continue. Palestinians have said that they will not continue with the talks if the moratorium was lifted. Netanyahu has acceded to their wishes, asking in return that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinians have categorically replied that they are unwilling to do so, which means that the peace talks are dead and that they have killed them.
Anyone who doesn’t recognize that Israel is a Jewish state and has been since day one is either blind or has another agenda. The notion isn’t worth arguing about because reality and the historical record are beyond dispute. Refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is like saying the Pope isn’t Catholic. Since the Palestinians aren’t blind they must have another agenda. What can that be? The answer is easy and self evident.
Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is recognizing Israel period and they are entirely unwilling to do that and have been since Israel first came into being. What the Palestinians are really telling the Israelis, the Americans and everyone else is that they have no interest in peace with Israel and that all the demands they made about stopping building on the West Bank in order for peace talks to take place were nothing more than sheer hypocrisy and red herrings. Their message is clear as can be…we will not agree to peace with Israel because we will not recognize Israel’s existence, as a Jewish state or otherwise. We want to destroy Israel, not live in peace with it. That’s our agenda.
It is exactly the same message that Palestinians, and the rest of the Arab world too for that matter, has been sending since 1948 when Israel first declared independence. Maybe this time it will be heard and blame for the past 62 years of war and conflict plus pressure to change will both be put where they belong, squarely on their shoulders. Maybe this time Israel and the U.S. will make it clear that they will refuse to participate in any sort of peace process unless Israel is recognized as a Jewish state because any such endeavor would be a waste of time and energy and both governments have enough pressing issues on their plates as it is.
Now that would be a refreshing approach.