Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry outlined a plan last week at the State Department for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on “a broad consensus on balanced principles that would satisfy the core needs of both sides.”
Kerry’s plan was criticized by Israelis for focusing on settlements and giving away Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. This week, a senior Palestinian figure rejected it for a more fundamental reason: Palestinians refuse to accept a Jewish state.
Palestinian Media Watch notes that Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee member Hanan Ashram — a frequent spokesperson for the Palestinian cause in American media — told official Palestinian Authority television that Kerry’s plan was too “Zionist” because it accepted the principle of Israel as a Jewish State. Ashrawi stated that Palestinians had never recognized Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and still refused to do so:
The six principles that Kerry presented are undeniable Zionist principles that serve Israeli interests. For example, he spoke about Jerusalem – a capital of two states. He didn’t say that East Jerusalem is occupied, but rather that Jerusalem is a capital of two states… Secondly, he said ‘a Jewish state,’ giving them [Israel] a great prize. We have refused and still refuse to say that Israel is a Jewish state…
Ashrawi’s remarks support what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week in a strident response to Kerry’s speech:
See, this conflict is not about houses, or communities in the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, the Gaza district or anywhere else. This conflict is and has always been about Israel’s very right to exist. That’s why my hundreds of calls to sit with [Palestinian] President [Mahmoud] Abbas for peace talks have gone unanswered. That’s why my invitation to him to come to the Knesset was never answered. That’s why the Palestinian government continues to pay anyone who murders Israelis a monthly salary.
The persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state remains the core of the conflict and its removal is the key to peace.
An international peace conference is scheduled for mid-January in France. The lame-duck Obama administration is widely suspected of planning to use the conference to impose its vision of a solution to the conflict, perhaps through a proxy at the United Nations.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.