Why Make Light of PLO Non-Recognition of Israel?
Over the weekend, the Obama administration began walking back its support for Israel's demand that the PLO recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
At a State Department media briefing on Friday, State Department Spokesperson Jennifer Psaki said, "If you look at the issue of a Jewish state and whether Israel will be called a Jewish state, that's been our position, as you know, for a long time, but that doesn't reflect what the parties will agree to, which I know you know."
In other words, the US is neutral. It's fine with Washington if the PLO accepts Israel's right to exist. And it's fine if the PLO continues to refuse to accept Israel's right to exist. As far as the Obama administration is concerned, making peace between the Arabs and the Jewish state has nothing to do persuading the Arabs to recognize the Jewish state.
More and more people these days are questioning Israel's stubborn insistence on being recognized.
Israeli leftists like Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and President Shimon Peres say they don't care.
"We know we're the Jewish state," they thump their chests and say patriotically. "What do we care if PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas agrees with us?" Well, here's the thing. People who recognize Israel's right to exist have generally not been waging a terror and political war against it for the past 50 years whose declared aim is to destroy Israel. The PLO has been doing those things. And Abbas and the PLO are now supposed to be our peace partner.
If Abbas and the PLO aren't even willing to recognize our right as Jews to determine our own destiny and define our own state as our own state, then how can it be said that they are our partners in peace? Their unwillingness to recognize Israel is the only thing that we should care about. It points to the utter futility of the two-state model.
As I explain in my new book, The Israeli Solution: A One State Plan for Peace in the Middle East, the two-state formula places all the blame on Israel for the absence of peace.
By claiming that the cause of the conflict, and through it all the problems of the region owe to the absence of a Palestinian state, and by claiming that the reason that such a state doesn't exist is because Israel won't surrender sufficient quantities of land to appease Palestinian demands, the two-state formula says that the Jews are responsible for everything bad in the region.
Israel's demand that our "moderate" Palestinian "peace partners" recognize our right to national self-determination in our historic homeland is an attempt by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to take this hallucinatory policy and force it into reality.
In reality, the reason that the conflict began, and the reason it continues to this day is because the Arabs writ large, including the Palestinians, and the Islamic political world reject all Jewish rights - to peoplehood and to national self-determination.
The PLO 's 1964 charter, posted on the group's UN Mission's website, sums up the prejudiced sentiment thus: "Judaism, because it is a divine religion, is not a nationality with independent existence. Furthermore, the Jews are not one people with an independent personality because they are citizens to their states."
Supported by the Arab and Islamic worlds, the PLO 's fight is not about establishing an Arab state next to the Jewish state. It is about destroying the Jewish state, because, as far as the PLO and its supporters are concerned, Jews have no right to self-determination.
They say we are not a nation, and we have no right to stand up to them. This is why Israel's demand for recognition is critical.
And this is why people who are wedded to the twostate solution are trying desperately to get out from under it. Livni, Peres and Lapid, along with the State Department and the EU know that the Palestinians will never recognize Israel. And they know that the minute they acknowledge this plain fact, they are going to have to answer some difficult questions about the nature of their continued focus - indeed, in many cases their obsessive focus - on the two-state formula.
For instance, since the Palestinians refuse to acknowledge Israel's right to exist, why do they continue to say that the two-state plan is a viable policy? Obviously it won't lead to peace. After all, the Palestinians won't live at peace with a state they refuse to recognize.
All the good people who say Palestinian aims and intentions are irrelevant also demand that Israel capitulate to all of the PLO 's territorial, strategic and political demands. What are they trying to achieve? For the Israelis the answer is fairly clear.
The likes of Livni and Peres have based their entire political identity on their support for Palestinian statehood in the framework of the two-state solution.
They have no political existence beyond it. If it is exposed as a lie, they will be exposed as liars. And their careers will be over.
Lapid has less of a personal stake in the perpetuation of the two-state fallacy. But his political party is backed by people who are ideologically and politically committed to it. So he has joined them in trying to undermine Netanyahu by pretending that Palestinian non-recognition signifies nothing.
As for the Europeans, from reports of their internal deliberations, it is apparent that many European leaders agree with PLO /Arab/Islamic bigotry. They too reject the Jewish peoples' right to assert our peoplehood and our right to national self-determination.
In December 2011, Haaretz reported that in a working paper authored by European ambassadors in Israel sent to Brussels, the EU ambassadors called for the EU to champion the communal rights of Israeli Arabs as a "core issue, not second tier to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
In other words, the EU is interested in undermining the legitimacy of Jewish rights to sovereignty. If a Jewish government of a Jewish state does not have the right to enforce its laws without prejudice toward both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of the Jewish state, then Jewish rights are meaningless. Israel is demoted to the position of a Jewish communal organization.
This brings us back to the Obama administration, and the fact that it is taking its first steps toward backing away from supporting Israel's demand for recognition.
To date, Abbas and his supporters have done everything possible to show that they don't want peace - beginning with their demand for Israel to release a thousand terrorist murderers from its prisons as a precondition for talks, and ending with their rejection of Israel's rights to exist.
All along, despite daily proof of Palestinian radicalism, anti-Semitism and bad faith, Netanyahu has maintained his commitment to the peace process and the two-state formula. He has done so largely because he hasn't wanted to give Obama the ability to blame Israel when the talks inevitably fail.
Obama's decision to abandon his previous support for Israel's demand for recognition shows that Netanyahu is being played for a fool.
With Psaki's statement, it is obvious that Obama will not allow the facts get in the way of his policy. The fact that the Palestinians are uninterested in a twostate solution because they remain committed to the annihilation of the Jewish state is no cause for alarm in the White House.
And that is because Obama's goal in pursuing a phony peace process is not to achieve peace. It is to weaken and discredit Israel.