The Recognition Trap
Recent reports in the Israeli daily Ma’ariv revealed that a PLO Central Committee member suggested that Mahmoud Abbas was ready to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. Subsequent reports denied this notion, but the question is, what are the ramifications if Mahmoud Abbas publicly announces that he recognizes Israel as the Jewish State, as demanded by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and supported by Secretary of State John Kerry?
No doubt Kerry will declare this utterance a coup, and waste no time turning on Netanyahu to demand he immediately make those promised “painful concessions.” After all, Kerry got Netanyahu what he wanted, so Netanyahu owes him.
“ŽOr does he?
“ŽRecognizing Israel as the Jewish State means more than just lip service, something Kerry may not understand, or care about.
Interestingly, Hanan Ashrawi, a prominent member of the PLO, unwittingly brought home this very point in an interview she gave to the Associated Press.
“Ž”I remember the days when we were told, `All you need is to get the PLO to recognize Israel, and recognize Israel’s right to exist in safe and secure boundaries,'” she said. “The Palestinians did just that,” she noted, as part of the 1990s peace agreements.
“ŽBut did they?
Or did they just put words on paper?
If they truly recognized Israel’s right to exit, wouldn’t they stop referring to the establishment of Israel as the Nakba – the catastrophe? In May 2013, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), commemorated “the Palestinian Nakba” by announcing detailed figures on the numbers of Palestinian refugees in occupied Palestine and the diaspora.
Further, the PCBS defines the word Nakba as “a process of ethnic cleansing in which an unarmed nation has been destroyed and its population displaced to be systematically replaced by another nation.”
Does this sound like the PLO truly recognizes Israel’s right to exist, as Ashrawi “Žclaims?
Take a look at the Fatah emblem. The map of Israel is draped with an Arab kafiyhah. The map of Israel doesn’t exist in Palestinian school text books.
Listen to the words Palestinian Arab children are taught to sing on television as recently as December 20, 2013:
“My country Palestine is beautiful. Turn to Safed, and then to Tiberias, and send regards to the sea of Acre and Haifa. Don’t forget Nazareth – the Arab fortress, and tell Beit Shean about its people’s return. My country Palestine is beautiful.”
Does this sound like Palestinian children are taught that Israel has a right to exist?
As recently as January 16, 2014, an article in Al Hayat Al Jadada stated: “”ŽThe Ministry of Prisoners’ [Affairs] honors families of several prisoners and detainees, including families from the Palestinian Interior and the West Bank.”
Does referring to Israel proper as”Ž the “Palestinian Interior” sound like the Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel’s right to exist?
“ŽWhen the Western media uses the term “occupation,” readers understand this to mean the West Bank or biblical Judea and Samaria. Not so in Palestinian media. “Occupation” refers to the entire land of Israel. A simple report on weather conditions in Al Hayat Al Jadida on December 17, 2013, couldn’t help but be political: “Occupation forces closed roads leading to Hebron and the territories occupied in 1948 due to weather [conditions].”
And in a documentary repeatedly shown on PA TV from 2005 to 2007, Biblical Canaanites are referred to as Arabs: “The Arab Canaanites established ports on the coast of Canaan, known today as Palestine.”
So if these are examples of what Hanan Ashrawi meant when she said the PA recognized Israel’s right to exist in the early 1990s, how will Mahmoud Abbas express his recognition of Israel as the Jewish State, if he ever does so? Will it be sincere or just another ploy to trick Kerry into forcing Netanyahu to make irrevocable”Ž concessions?
Will he acquiesce to unimpeded Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount? Will he remove the kafiyah from all the maps of Israel, especially those in the Palestinian Arab text books? Will he stop the incitement of violence and hatred of Israel and Jews in the media and schools and mosques? Will he recognize the kotel or Western Wall as Jewish?
Kerry may be swayed by mere words but as Netanyahu said recently, “we’re not suckers.”