That’s the heart of the matter. Islamic supremacism and antisemitism cannot bear the notion of a Jewish state — not even a tiny one, in a sea of Islamic countries. And that is why attempting to coerce Israel to return to the 1967 borders amounts only to a land grab on the Arab countries’ behalf, granting them a do-over for a war they lost, and giving them a head start on their intentions to take the rest, by war, or the instant demographic conquest of the “right of return.”
“Obama’s ‘Jewish state’ reference jars Palestinians,” by Josef Federman for the Associated Press, May 23:
JERUSALEM — U.S.-Israel tension over Barack Obama’s endorsement of Israel’s pre-1967 borders is obscuring a flip side of the Middle East coin: The past days’ speeches by the U.S. president contained difficult challenges for the Palestinians as well.
Addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Sunday, Obama reiterated his request that the Palestinians drop their plans to appeal for recognition at the United Nations this fall, and “” as he did in another Mideast speech Thursday “” raised tough questions about an emerging Palestinian unity government that is to include the Hamas militant group.
Most difficult for Palestinians is Obama’s call to recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland, essentially requiring the Palestinians to accept that most refugees will be denied the “right of return” to what is now Israel.
Perhaps for this reason, the Palestinians have remained largely quiet about the substance of Obama’s speeches, seemingly content to watch Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clash with the U.S. administration over Israel’s future borders.
“It’s really premature to jump into any of these details,” said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, when asked by The Associated Press about the demands Obama made of the Palestinians.
The fate of Palestinian refugees is one of the most emotional and explosive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians either fled or were expelled during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948. Today, the surviving refugees, with their descendants, number several million people.
The Palestinians claim they have the right to return to their family’s lost properties. Israel rejects the principle, saying it would mean the end of the country as a Jewish democracy. Israeli leaders say the refugees should be entitled to compensation and resettled in a future Palestine to be established next to Israel, or absorbed where they now live.
The “right of return” would be a legalized invasion, would create a humanitarian crisis within Israel, and inevitably, violence among Palestinians disputing one another’s claims. But the whole idea is to end Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, hence the refusal to recognize it as such.
In his speech last Thursday, Obama did not explicitly mention the refugees. But by saying a final peace deal must recognize “Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people,” he appeared to back the Israeli position.
The issue is so central to Palestinian policy and society that no Palestinian leader can be seen as abandoning the rights of the refugees, particularly at a time when peace efforts are at a standstill and so many other difficult issues, such as borders and the final status of Jerusalem, remain unresolved.
Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official, said recognition of Israel as a Jewish state would sell out not only the refugees, but potentially open the door to Israel expelling its roughly 1.5 million Arab citizens as well. This idea has never been seriously raised in Israel.
He said the Palestinian recognition of Israel’s right to exist, without any reference to national character, should be sufficient….
He has his own ideas for Israel’s “national character,” and there’s nothing Jewish about it. All he would be recognizing is the existence of a geographical area.