Demanding that the Palestinian people accept Israel as being the Jewish, rather than the Israeli state, is hardly an absurd or radical proposition. Prime Minister Netanyahu does not wish to obliterate any chance of a peace deal through this demand, because it is neither in his intentions, nor in his favour. It is not a manifestation of ‘ultra-nationalism’ to request Israel’s designation as a Jewish state from the Palestinian Authority. Rather, it is a request for the end of a conflict that is perpetuated by the Palestinian refusal to accept what is both a fundamental concept and a fundamental reality. For ‘Jewish state’ is a designation that is found at the very crux of Israel’s creation and existence, it’s past, present, and future. Israel was created as a Jewish state, and remains to be a Jewish state in terms of raison d’être, identity, language, culture, demography and existence. Yet that it is a reality does not make irrelevant the importance of the inclusion of the ‘Jewish State’ in any peace talks. It is certainly not irrelevant, or as far as any peace settlement goes, possible, to remove the Palestinian concession of designating Israel as the Jewish state. Without that, it would be both self-defeating and mad to grant a Palestinian manifestation to self-determination and independence. I say this for three reasons.
The first, is that the ‘Right of Return’ must end. The Palestinian Authority knows very well that the recognition of the Jewish state is the silver bullet with which they must kill it. They are reluctant because they maintain the hope of seizing Israel’s land. If they did not have that hope, they would have undoubtedly renounced their farcical claims a long time ago. However, in every political settlement that the Palestinians have bought to the table, the ‘Right of Return’ has always been a ‘fundamental demand’. Yet if this claim is facilitated by Israel, it would be the demographic and political equivalent of jumping off a cliff, straight into the footnotes of history books. Israel would no longer exist and would in less than two decades, become just another Arab country; a phenomenon which would cause the second exodus of Jews from their only homeland, and an anti-Jewish pogrom of spectacular proportions.
If this is not bad enough, a binational state would, politically, fall prey to infighting between Palestinian factions and end up in a state akin to that of Lebanon if not Syria. Finally, it would spell the death of a Jewish homeland as a concept and a reality for another thousand years. Thus, is it impossible for a binational state to exist by any stretch of the imagination. Yet it has remained a fabulous fantasy of the Palestinian Authority, which nonsensically places a ‘right of return’ on the list of Palestinian demands in every peace talk. To get to real peace, this demographic dagger that Palestinian leaders dream of stabbing Israel’s heart with, must be cast into the sea, removed once and for all from sight, and eventually from mind. This is something that is only done through the acceptance of the Jewish state. This would directly recognise, on the Palestinian side, that the Palestinian people can live side by side peacefully with the Jewish people in the Jewish state. It would, too, end the threat of a binational state that would shatter a thousand years of Jewish hopes and prayers, as well as make the Middle East a more volatile place than ever. Yet above all, it would be the greatest sign that the Palestinians could ever give, that the Palestinian people finally seek peace as opposed to continued conflict caused by coveting land that is not theirs.
Secondly, a Palestinian state must be viable and a final solution to the conflict. Another fear of Palestinian statehood for many Israelis is that it will be a slippery slope to weightier demands, to the extent that any ‘peace deal’ would not be comprehensive and would be a parasite, leeching more and more demands from Israel on an annual basis. Because unless Israel is recognised as a Jewish state, the conflict is only over superficially and acts as a stage in the ‘master plan’ of some in the Palestinian Authority, that establishing a state on 1967 borders would merely be a step in the ‘quest for Palestine’- in other words, the seizure of all of Israel. This would be done through conflict, or diplomatically by the use of further demands such as open borders. This narrative of incitement must end, and is only ended when the Jewish state is accepted by Palestinians as a reality. Accepting the Jewish state is the only means of halting the tidal wave of Palestinian nationalism which would continue past the creation of a Palestinian state, into a movement to achieve the ‘binational nightmare’ and dissolution of Israel. A Palestinian state cannot be deemed as a ‘legitimate aspiration and hope’ if it is born with the true aspiration and hope of demolishing the Jewish state.
Finally, the idea of ‘Two States for two Peoples’ must be a reality, not a cosmetic title for a cosmetic process, that leaves the key issue of a Jewish state in what is perceived as ‘Arab land’, out of dialogue. A Two State Solution with stability and peace is the political reality that the world, Israel included, wants to see. If the Palestinian Authority cannot reciprocate Israel’s acceptance of the existence of the Palestinian people by accepting the existence of the Jewish state, how can such a reality exist? Unless Israel is recognised as the Jewish state, not only is the threat mentioned in my second point still potentially lethal to Israel, but the two state solution cannot truly fulfil the reality of two states for two people. Indeed, it would only achieve the creation of two states. ‘Two states’ sets the scene only for more conflict, and for the Palestinian Authority’s continued undermining of Jewish history and heritage in the next generation of Palestinians. This, in turn, is fuel for the already-burning flame of Palestinian nationalism and extremism. Introducing the Jewish state into the narrative is now vital as far as any further peace deal goes.
Demanding that the recognition of a Jewish State is part of a final deal, if not part of the peace process, is the antithesis of sabotaging a peace deal. Rather, it is about pragmatically ensuring a real peace; a viable one, a tenable one. If this key Israeli position cannot be accepted by the Palestinian leadership, it does not mean that Israel is demanding too much. Instead, it means that the Palestinian leadership is not ready to accept peace. It means that the Palestinian people cannot respect, let alone acknowledge, the essence of their neighbour’s existence. This sets the scene for the Palestinian far right’s dream of more violence, more war.
To close; Israel’s existence comes down to the need for a Jewish state. It is a need generated by years of persecution, pogroms, and hatred; The persecution of the Jewish people is an incredibly deep contrast to the purity of the Jewish veneration of life. The history of the Jewish people but also the land of Israel, is written and bound in blood- yet what is written in that blood reads ‘hope’. If the Palestinian people, if not least their elected representatives, cannot end their hope for a demographic annihalation of their Israeli neighbours, any peace created out of those circumstances is impure and bound to fail. Peace should be, and will be achieved only when Israel is accepted as what it has always been- the only Jewish state in the world. Then and only then, is the time that friendship can come from enmity, and the hope of peace can come alive.