By Maurice Ostroff
In view of Secretary Kerry's determined and energetic efforts to achieve an agreement between Israel and the PA, it is timely to realize that the stubborn refusal by Mahmoud Abbas to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, his objection to an Israeli presence in the Jordan valley and his insistence on removal of ALL "settlements" east of the Green Line directly oppose exhortations by President Obama.
Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State.
Conventional wisdom would have us believe that PM Netanyahu introduced the demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. But the fact is that in 2007, then PM Olmert declared that unless Palestinians accept this definition, diplomacy would be aborted. He said: “I do not intend to compromise in any way over the issue of the Jewish state”.
It is important to realize that President Obama supports the demand for recognition by the PA of Israel as a Jewish state. In a speech recorded by NBC during Obama's visit to Israel last March he declared "Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state.” And AP reported that while addressing a gathering at Yad Vashem he said "Here on your ancient land, let it be said for all the world to hear, the state of Israel does not exist because of the Holocaust, but with the survival of a strong Jewish state of Israel, such a holocaust will never happen again."
As Iran, Mauritania, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are recognized as Islamic states and since Israel's future neighbor intends to be an Arab only state, the objection to a Jewish state is plainly illogical especially since Abbas declared in Cairo last July
“In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli, civilian or soldier, on our lands,”
This contemplated restrictive Palestinian state for Palestinians only, compares unfavorably with the Israeli Jewish state in which all religious and ethnic minorities have full rights. Refusal to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state denies historical facts. The motivation to resurrect Israel was motivated by Hertzl's 1896 book Der Judenstaat (“The Jewish State”) and the 1947 partition resolution 181 refers unambiguously to a Jewish state
The Jordan Valley and settlements
It is also important to realize that Palestinian claims to the Jordan Valley and the demands that every settlement east of the Green Line be removed run counter to the urging by President Obama that we follow in the footsteps of Yitzhak Rabin.
In November 2009, Obama sent a video message to the Rabin Memorial Rally in Tel Aviv in which he urged listeners to follow in Rabin's footsteps, adding that the USA will never lose sight of their shared purpose " a just and lasting peace between Israel, Palestine, and the Arab world "
It is therefore timely to recall the path set by Rabin which Obama has urged us to follow by considering the following excerpts from Rabin's last speech delivered to the Knesset on October 5, 1995. Just weeks before the tragic assassination on November 4, 1995, he said:
"We view the permanent solution in the framework of the State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines. [emphasis added]
First and foremost, united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev -- as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty.. The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.. Changes which will include the addition of Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities, most of which are in the area east of what was the "Green Line," prior to the Six Day War. The establishment of blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif".
It may surprise many to realize from the above that PM Netanyahu's present policies are not very different than those of Rabin who had no intention of returning to the 1967 lines. Like Rabin, very few indeed, even among the most ardent advocates of "ending the occupation" call for Israel to relinquish Gush Etzion, which existed prior to 1948, the Western Wall, or access to Mount Scopus.
It is equally important to understand what the Green Line is and what it is not. Too often it is mistakenly referred to as an internationally recognized border, which it is not. The 1949 Armistice agreements were intended to serve only as interim agreements until replaced by permanent peace treaties The Green Line denoting the cease-fire line was not intended as a recognized international border. It only marks the line separating the armies until permanent borders are eventually established by negotiation and agreement.
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