Israeli-Palestinian Slugfest and How It Impacts Arab Dynamics

RAM, V. B. N.
April 2014
Aakrosh: The Asian Journal on International Terrorism & Conflict;Apr2014, Vol. 17 Issue 63, p47
President Barack Obama would have secured his greatest diplomatic achievement if he can get the Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas on board for a Palestinian acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. Without such recognition, the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, 'Israel will never recognize Palestine as a State.' The Palestinian position, as explained by one of its officials to U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, is that the ideas proposed in the framework accord, particularly the recognition of Israel by Palestine as a 'Jewish' state, are unacceptable as they do not take into account the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. On the other hand, the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been on record stating, 'it is absurd to think that Israel would acquiesce to a peace agreement that entails the Israeli recognition of a Palestinian State, without a reciprocal Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish State.' All other agenda items in the framework accord, such as the status of Jerusalem, geographical borders, security arrangements, the status of Israeli settlements and the return of refugees, would be contingent upon such mutual recognition by the opposite camps. Besides the above agenda, the proposed framework accord also includes the establishment of agreed guidelines for subsequent negotiations for a full peace treaty and settlement of claims. The UN Resolution 181 at the end of the British mandate for Palestine had recommended two states, one Jewish and one Palestinian - hence propriety demands that any new proposed framework should be concluded only by UN endorsement.The present idea for the 'framework accord' was pronounced by John Kerry on 19 July 2013 with an avowed intention of making a breakthrough facilitating Netanyahu and Abbas to meet and agree on some basic structural agenda that can provide a roadmap for durable peace. By December 2013, after the two sides had met over 20 times with no signs of convergence, Kerry came out with the above-described framework formula.1 Abbas has rejected Kerry's proposal, which calls for turning only parts of East Jerusalem into a capital of a Palestinian state as well as the Israeli demand for annexation of the settlements in West Bank.2 The line taken by Palestinian negotiators is that any resolution to the vexed issue needs to be in conformity with the UN resolutions, especially pre-1967 borders, and should provide for land swaps. According to Nabil Amro, a Fatah official and a former PA minister, Israel's recognition as a Jewish state will need to be baked up with a referendum endorsing the above.3 'However, the idea stemming out of a statement from Netanyahu's' office that Jewish settlers will live under Palestinian sovereignty is a very grave matter and reflects a panicked loss of values,' said Neftali Bennett, a hawk as regards the Kerry framework plan. Bennett belongs to the Jewish Home Party representing 350,000 Israeli settlers.4 During the course of discussions with Kerry, Nabil Amro is reported to having conveyed Palestinian endorsement of Israel as a 'Jewish' state subject to the proposal getting ratified through a referendum.5


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