Monday, April 27, 2009

Not News

Mahmud Abbas - Abu Mazen - regularly described as the Moderate Palestinian President today gave a speech in which he rejected recognizing Israel as a Jewish State:

"A Jewish state, what is that supposed to mean?" Abbas asked in a speech in the West Bank's political capital of Ramallah. "You can call yourselves as you like, but I don't accept it and I say so publicly."...

Such a move [of recognition] would amount to an effective renunciation of the right of return of refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, when Israel was created, one of the most cherished and visceral principles to the Palestinians.

The peculiar thing about this is that it's not news. It has been the official Palestinian position ever since they began recognizing Israel's existence, somewhere between the late 1980s and early 1990s, and it effectively negates the recognition because it assumes large numbers of Palestinians will move into Israel, thus turning it into a bi-national state at best. No official Palestinian spokesman ever said otherwise, no matter how moderate he purports to be. This is the main reason why even Olmert and Livni never got close to a peace agreement with Abbas during the 18 months or so of their talks: the positions of the two sides are too far apart.

What is additionally peculiar is that while this is common knowledge in Israel - raising the question why Y-Net even gave it a headline today - it is effectivle never published in the Western media. So it's not news in Israel (everyone knows it), and it's likewise not news in Europe and America (no-one knows it).


PetraMB said...

True, that ain't news. There are, however, some related news: During an AlJazeera appearance in late March, Saeb Erekat revealed to his audience what he described as "a secret" -- namely the reason why Arafat had said no in Camp David, and why Abbas said no when Olmert/Livni offered him -- as Erekat acknowledged -- almost 100 percent of the Westbank/Gaza plus East Jerusalem. The reason was that Israel wanted from the Palestinians an acknowledgement that the Temple Mount is sacred to Jews. Too much to ask...

What's perhaps most interesting is that Shlomo Ben Ami told essentially the same story to Avi Shavit in September 2001, in the aptly titled interview "The day peace died"

The relevant links are here:

Anonymous said...

Well, I have never seen it said so unequivocally and so publicly.

With a good headline and little googling it will probably get picked up here in a day or so. The article was distributed in the JTA daily email, so lets see how this goes.


PS. Almost finished reading "Once Upon a Country" which was a few books away from yours in the library.

Geoff M said...

That admission by Erekat seems like huge news to my. I wonder why it hasn't gotten more publicity.

Anonymous said...

The New York Times picked up the story today. Note towards the end, Erekat's lame effort to misread Harry Truman's statement on the establishment of Israel.


Anonymous said...

From the Italian media:

The reference to a formal recognition of Israel as a Jewish State, as a precondition to a relaunch of the peace process, was recently reproposed by Netanyahu, but was immediately rejected as unsuitable both by the PNA and by the US. The defence minister, Ehud Barak, who represents the labour minority in the new Israeli government, also said he was opposed to it. Even Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister from the radical right, stated on Saturday that he did not consider the issue to be an essential condition for negotiations to progress. (ANSAmed).