Sunday, June 14, 2009


From the BBC, here is the essence of what Benjamin Netanyahu said about recognizing a Palestinian state:

"The key condition is that the Palestinians recognise in a clear and public manner that Israel is the state of the Jewish people. The heart of the conflict has always been the Arabs' refusal to accept the existence of the Jewish state.

"If we have guarantees on demilitarisation and if the Palestinians recognise Israel as a state of the Jewish people, then we arrive at a solution based on a demilitarised Palestinian state alongside Israel.

"Each will have its flag, each will have its anthem. The Palestinian territory will be without arms, will not control airspace, will not be able to have arms."

If I were a Palestinian, I would find the key condition to be unacceptable. Israel today is the home of thousands of Palestinian Israelis. Why must the Palestinians acquiesce to say that Israel is "a state of the Jewish people." It would be like forcing Italian Protestants to admit that Italy is the state of Roman Catholics. This requirement is totally unnecessary and contrary to the identity of any secular democracy.

As to Palestine being a "separate state," but not able to control its own airspace or possess armaments, this is also unreasonable. Netanyahu's implication here is that Israel will retain the right to send its war planes and bombers over Palestine any time it wants without asking Palestinian permission. Furthermore, if Israel has tanks and guns and warplanes, why not the Palestinian state?

We all know that Netanyahu has no expectations that the Palestinians will ever accept his harsh conditions. But then, Netanyahu does not really want a separate Palestinian state, nor does he want to ever accept peace with the Palestinians.

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