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February 23, 2014 6:30 pm

Report: Growing Movement Within Palestinian Authority Seeks Compromise on Recognition of Israel as Jewish State

avatar by Gidon Ben-zvi

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with PA President Abbas in May 2013. Photo: State Department.

While the Palestinian Authority continues to officially deny the possibility that it will ever recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a growing movement within the PA is actively seeking a compromise on the issue, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Sunday.

The willingness of the PA to even consider changing its official party line is the result of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s insistence, according to the report. In a meeting he held last week with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, he stressed that the framework agreement between Jerusalem and Ramallah currently under discussion, must include official recognition of the Jewish character of the state of Israel.

There is also a growing chorus of PA representatives who now support having the United Nations and the Arab League officially recognize Israel as a Jewish state instead of the PA doing so, Ma’ariv said.

Palestinian-Arab daily newspaper Al-Quds recently quoted a PA official saying, “The issue of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state should not be an obstacle in preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with its capital in East Jerusalem.”

“The issue has been created in order to eliminate the possibility of a future right of return [for Palestinian Arabs],” the PA proponent of recognition told Al-Quds. “However, Abbas has stated on several occasions that [the PA] does not intend on pushing for the return of all refugees. It is therefore unclear why recognition of a Jewish state remains an obstacle.”

Since the PA is both a part of the Arab League and has observer status in the United Nations, it could in theory fulfill Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s requirement for recognition indirectly without having to ever utter the words “Jewish state,” Ma’ariv said.

However, while winds of change are blowing through certain quarters of the PA, Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee Yasser Abed Rabbo continued to adhere on Sunday to the official position of non-recognition.

“Recognition of a Jewish state means recognition of a Greater Israel that includes occupied Palestinian land,” Rabbo said. “Recognition of a Jewish state means that this is the homeland of the Jewish people, in which there is no room for the Palestinians. Therefore, recognition is unthinkable.”

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  • Michelle Bodner

    Our best chance for peace is to keep on negotiating while setting boundaries that will insure Israel’s safety…Israel must stop their continuation of settlement building in the West Bank…The ultra Orthodox Jews are as much of a stumbling block to peace as are the fanatic Islamists…My family have been Zionists for four generations,…My grandfather named his son Theodore Herzel when he was born in 1926….May G-d grant wisdom to reign on both sides so the time will come when every man shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree and none shall make them afraid!

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    Too late. Stop talking to them. It’s pointless and they can stew in their squalor for a thousand years.

    • Corey New York

      Wombat: Shame on you. We pray for Shalom 3 times a day for milennia. It is never pointless and never hopeless.

  • Beatrix

    All Mideastern nations are recognized as Muslim states, even though non-Muslims live there, too. Israel being recognized as a Jewish state has to do with the Muslim notion that Israelis (and Christians) are dhimmi people and are not entitled to a state. If the Muslims actually allow a Jewish state and call it Jewish, Israel has a good chance of survival.

    This has nothing to do with “the right of return,” which is based on the absurd idea that refugee-hood is inherited. If that’s true then the billions of descendents of WW2 refugees have the right to sue Germany, Italy and Japan for compensation because they had relatives who were refugees.

    All this is because Palestine lost the war she started in 1948.

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