Recognise Israel as Jewish state: Netanyahu

Israeli leaders say refugee question can be resolved separately and the status of Israel’s Arab minority can be protected.

Written by New York Times | Jerusalem | Published:January 3, 2014 1:33 am

As middle East peace talks churn on,Israel has catapulted to the fore an issue that may be even more intractable than old ones like security and settlements: a demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made such recognition the pillar of his public statements in recent weeks,calling it “the real key to peace”,“the minimal requirement” and “an essential condition”. Israeli,American and Palestinian officials all say it has become a core issue in the negotiations that started last summer.

But Netanyahu’s argument that this single issue underpins all others is exactly what makes it unacceptable to Palestinians. At its heart,it is a dispute over a historical narrative that each side sees as fundamental to its existence.

Critics skeptical of Netanyahu’s commitment to a two-state solution to the long-running conflict say recognition of a Jewish state is a poison pill he is raising only to scuttle the talks.

The Palestinian president,Mahmoud Abbas,has repeatedly said the Palestinians will never agree to it,most recently in a letter to President Obama last month.

The Palestinians cite both pragmatic and philosophical reasons: They contend that recognizing Israel as a Jewish state would disenfranchise its 1.6 million Arab citizens,undercut the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees and,most important,require a psychological rewriting of the story they hold dear about their longtime presence in the land.

But Israeli leaders say refugee question can be resolved separately and the status of Israel’s Arab minority can be protected.

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  1. F
    Jan 2, 2014 at 10:24 pm
    Benjamin Milikowsky (netanyahu) from Lithuania push for a Zionist state masquerading as a Jewish State will never fly.
  2. D
    Dale Eff
    Jan 2, 2014 at 10:11 pm
    Recognize Palestine as an Islamic State. Recognition goes both ways.
  3. L
    Jan 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm
    Please do not bother moderating my comment as I expect it to be excluded anyway.
  4. R
    Ruff Davidson
    Jan 2, 2014 at 10:11 pm
    Israel does not want peace. Not now not ever. They do want US money and protection. Time to cut them loose.
  5. S
    Jan 2, 2014 at 10:11 pm
    This is the latest trick. Israel wants the sort of peace one gets with a boot on another's neck.
  6. R
    Rose Lawson
    Jan 2, 2014 at 10:15 pm
    No other state in the world has had a demand from Israel that it be recognized as the Jewish State. Even Egypt, when they signed the Camp David Accords.Bibi is doing his best to scuttle the talks.
  7. A
    Adam Smith
    Jan 2, 2014 at 10:22 pm
    " undercut the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees"never, never, ever going to happen.
  8. J
    John Pere
    Jan 2, 2014 at 10:01 pm
    Recognize the Palestinians as humans is more important. Isreal government is the reincarnation of Hitler
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