Monday, October 4, 2010

Now They Tell Us 2

Jeffrey Goldberg, following Aaron Miller, accepts that settlements are not the main obstacle to peace between Israel and Palestine - that would be the Palestinian inability to deliver. Actually, I think even that evaluation is too glib: the main obstacle is the Palestinian refusal to accept a Jewish State.

I cannot tell you where they've been these past ten years, Miller and Goldberg. Most of us have known this ever since Ehud Barak offered to dismantle most of the settlements, (Camp David, 2000), and then Shlomo Ben-Ami offered to swap land for the remaining few square miles (Taba, January 2001), and the Palestinians turned them down. Then again, in the part of the world they live - Washington DC - most people don't know this even today, so I suppose we should be grateful for those who do, even if a bit belatedly.


Gavin said...

I'm a bit confused on this one Yaacov, I'd disagree with you but I'm uncertain on your angle. I can't see the relevance here, whether you're a Jewish or Christian or Muslim state is no-ones business but your own and certainly doesn't require any recognition by a Palestinian state. The nature of a state is not something that is recognised, it's the existence of a state which is. I recognise Iran as a state, I don't recognise it as a Muslim state that's their own affair and has a different context & meaning

If you did ever manage to cut a deal you'd be the state of Israel, they'd be the state of Palestine, why is is necessary for the Jewish nature of your state to be recognised by anyone but yourselves?

Cheers, Gavin

NormanF said...

The reason for the demand is to foreclose the Arab option to claim the "right of return" in the future.

If the Arabs are really sincere about a two state solution, then they should have no problem accepting a Jewish State is as legitimate as an Arab State.

They refuse this simple stipulation. Which tells us they are still not reconciled to the permanence of a Jewish State as their neighbor.

That's why there's not going to be a peace agreement in the works any time soon.

Yaacov said...

Gavin -

It's a legitimate point. I'm mostly offline this week (living in the real world), but I'll try to post on this soon.

AKUS said...

I have now had the dubious pleasure of hearing Miller talk at two or three local Jewish events, and on National Public radio. He is very, very mixed up - a sad, burnt out case trying to revive a failed career.

In fact, its really impossible to understand what he is getting at - basically, it seems to boil down to the idea that there is no chance of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Paul M said...

Israel doesn't need the Palestinians to recognize it as a Jewish state in the sense of receiving their permission: It needs their acknowledgement that this is Israel's choice and Israel's right to choose — and it needs that, only because the conflict is founded on Palestinian and Arab denial of the Jewish right to self-determination in Israel (or, depending on whom you ask, anywhere else). Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is an end-of-conflict marker, a sign that the Palestinians have made their last attempt to reverse the revival of the Jewish nation and are willing to live at peace with it.

Ask yourself this: If it's so unimportant, why are the Palestinians so adamant in refusing it? If it's a triviality, why wouldn't the Palestinians offer it in trade for something they want (like a settlement halt) or even — novel idea — as a Palestinian concession for goodwill?

Stan said...

I too think that whether or not Israel will be recognized as a "Jewish State" is an ill thought-out way to frame the issue. It is self-evident that the Palestinians have no right to make demands regarding Israel's internal affairs, including how it defines itself and its immigration policies. If this is not the case, then the whole basis for negotiating a "two-state solution," where the "Arab refugee problem" is to be solved by the creation of a Palestinian Arab state, is rendered meaningless. If the Arab side refuses to drop any demands concerning what Israel does within its own, contracted borders, then it will not be possible to pretend any longer that there are "moderate" Palestinians with whom peace is possible, short of ending any Jewish self-determination in Palestine. Yet presenting the Arab side with the requirement that they recognize Israel as a Jewish state gives them an easy way out, because they can plausibly attack the "irrelevance" of such a requirement.

RK said...

This was a terribly condescending post, far below your usual standard. Jeffrey Goldberg's been pointing the finger at Palestinian attitudes for years now. What's more, he knows Israelis share this attitude. Just do a Google search.