The Palestinian Authority’s unanimous refusal Monday to recognize Israel as a Jewish state must not be permitted to impact the current US push for an Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement, according to State Department Spokesman Jennifer Psaki.
Such an agreement, now being pushed by President Obama, will almost certainly call for an Israeli withdrawal to behind the 1949 armistice lines.
“There are many issues like that that are being discussed as part of the framework,” Psaki briefed reporters. Just because “that’s been our position for a long time”, she said, “doesn’t reflect what the parties will agree to.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose term officially expired more than four years ago, is scheduled to meet President Obama at the White House next Monday to discuss current peace efforts being pushed by US Secretary of State John Kerry. Abbas convened the Palestinian Authority’s ‘governing’ Revolutionary Council in the PA’s administrative capital of Ramallah to both reaffirm and solidify formal Palestinian positions in advance of the meeting.
The 79 year old Abbas used the occasion of the convening of the Revolutionary Council to promise the ruling cadre that he would “never betray the cause”, nor surrender “his people’s rights” by accepting Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. According to reports in Israeli and Palestinian media, Abbas’ pronouncement was greeted with tumultuous applause and a standing ovation.
The Israeli government takes the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as evidence that the primary objective of Palestinian nationalism is not the establishment of a Palestinian state but rather the destruction of the Jewish state.
A consistent Israeli demand for still more territorial concessions is that they will only be made as part of a final settlement in which Palestinians agree to declare a formal and permanent end to the conflict. Repeated refusals to make such a commitment has reinforced the Israeli belief that Palestinians seek a Palestinian state not as a means to end their conflict with Israel, but to continue and advance that conflict.