Last week, Prime Minister Netanyahu made a straightforward offer to the Palestinians – recognize Israel as “the nation state of the Jewish People” and he will push an extension of the moratorium on settlement construction through his cabinet. The Palestinians have rejected this offer so far.
Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren forcefully makes the case for this essential Israeli demand in today’s New York Times.
Worth reading in full, the core of Ambassador Oren’s argument states:
Affirmation of Israel’s Jewishness, however, is the very foundation of peace, its DNA. Just as Israel recognizes the existence of a Palestinian people with an inalienable right to self-determination in its homeland, so, too, must the Palestinians accede to the Jewish people’s 3,000-year connection to our homeland and our right to sovereignty there. This mutual acceptance is essential if both peoples are to live side by side in two states in genuine and lasting peace.
So why won’t the Palestinians reciprocate? … The reason, perhaps, is that so much of Palestinian identity as a people has coalesced around denying that same status to Jews. “I will not allow it to be written of me that I have … confirmed the existence of the so-called Temple beneath the Mount,” Yasir Arafat told President Bill Clinton in 2000.
Ha’aretz columnist Ari Shavit brilliantly addresses this topic as well, laying out seven reasons why Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is essential.
Shavit’s first and last listings are worth reprinting in full here:
First reason: That is why we came here. The supreme goal of Zionism is that in the Land of Israel the people of Israel will have a national home recognized by the law of nations. Those who don’t believe in the right of the Jewish people to a national home are racists. Those who don’t understand that the national home of the Jewish people should be internationally recognized are fools. Without recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, the Zionist enterprise hangs by a thread.
Seventh reason: We will calm down. The basic desire of Jewish Israelis is the desire for a home. Explicit recognition that Israel is the Jewish people’s home will strengthen our willingness to take risks and leave the territories. Only recognition of the Jewish national home will make it possible to quickly and peacefully establish the Palestinian national home.
Posted by Nathan J. Diament