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Demanding Recognition as the State of the Jewish People

Yoram Getzler

BY Yoram Getzler: In a recent article in the Jerusalem Post (“Why Israelis demand recognition” Jerusalem Post, Magazine, Oct 8 ’10 ) commentator Amos Asa El asks the question that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership is asking, “Why does the Israeli government demand of us recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people when it did not demand that of Egypt or Jordan when signing peace treaties with them?”

Asa El claims that not asking Egypt or Jordan for recognition of this fundamental fact of the purpose and character of the Israeli state was a mistake. OK

He also points out that when Israel brought up the issue of education for peace with Egypt, which was part of the French German peace, Egypt rejected the idea as compromising their sovereignty.

I am not in total agreement with Amos Asa El on the need to explain to Mahmoud Abbas why we demand of him to acknowledge that Israel is the state of the Jewish people, but if asked, I think the most relevant answer to that is that both Egypt and Jordan were already sovereign independent nations who did not need us to acknowledge them in order to exist as independent entities.

The Palestinians on the other hand are not a sovereign, independent national entity and have never been one. It seems clear to all that in order to function as such requires Israel to agree to such a state., there- fore our feeling that we are entitled to make the demand that they recognize us as who we are Perhaps they do not realize that “Israel” is another name of the historical Jew people

But I really believe that PM Netanyahu has made a profound mistake in placing the issue of Israel as The Jewish State as his central demand.

The really important issue is first and foremost the acknowledgment and understanding of why we are dafka here. Is it for the vast natural riches (oil, gold, diamonds, abundant water) which we wish to take advantage of…or is it just to cause the Arab world difficulties, consternation and anger?

We were give n a foretaste of this issue when Yassar Arafat rejected and denied the historical presence of .the Jewish / Hebrew Holy Temple in Jerusalem to President Clinton at Camp David in 2000.

The true critical issue between the Jewish people and the Arab / Muslim world is a simple one. It is the need to acknowledge that the Jewish people have a legitimate historical claim to any of the land between the river and the sea. Lacking this understanding and acknowledgment we are nothing but criminals, thieves, who have come and for no good reason and stolen their land.

With thieves one does not make peace.

All the rest is commentary.

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