Recognising Israel's right to exist in peace and security was an existential question, and a necessary preamble to real and sustained peace between Israel and its neighbours. In so doing, the Palestinians had accepted the partition of their historic land and the two-state solution.I'd question the entire notion of recognising Israel period.
Recognising Israel as a "Jewish" state, however, is a question of national character, and is not relevant to the Palestinians living as a foreign nation outside Israel. This is a domestic issue and it is up to the citizens of every country to decide the identity and character of their own state.
Is the international community obliged to determine if Congo wishes to be called the Democratic Republic or Iran the Islamic Republic? No, this is something chosen – in the case of a democracy – by the citizens who live there.
The issue also goes deeper and challenges the demographic reality of the Israeli state and its democracy. The axiom of "two states for two peoples, one Jewish and one Palestinian", currently being peddled by Israeli spokespersons, distorts the demographic reality of Israel in favour of depicting a population that is entirely Jewish.
Although it was intended to be just that, the practicalities of creating that state on land already inhabited by Palestinians left Israel with a significant population that did not fit its Zionist ideology. The very principle of a "Jewish state" in this circumstance is altogether contradictory to Israel's claims to be democratic.
Moreover, by forcing the Palestinian Authority to recognise the state's "Jewishness", Israel is obliging the Palestinians to recognise a system in which Israel's Arab citizens are second class. Those people, who represent 20% of Israel's population, become the "non-Jewish" citizens of the "Jewish state" – a contradiction with serious implications.
September 22, 2010
At last someone calls Israel on its deal-breaking demand
Ah well, it doesn't seem to have made it into the print edition of The Guardian but there is an article in The Guardian on line calling into question the, ahem, appropriateness of Israel having its right to exist as a state for the world's Jews recognised. It's by Omar Rahman: