Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, November 2013
Recognition of "Jewish state" Implies Okaying Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians
By Khalid Amayreh
in Occupied Jerusalem
PIC, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, November 25, 2013
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has once again demanded that the Palestinian Authority (PA) recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Speaking during a joint press conference with visiting French President François Hollande in Occupied Jerusalem earlier this week, Netanyahu said he would travel to Ramallah in order to demonstrate Israel 's desire for peace.
He called on PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to reciprocate by visiting Occupied Jerusalem, addressing the Knesset and recognizing Israel as a Talmudic Jewish state where non-Jews can only maintain a precarious survival depending on Jewish "tolerance and magnanimity."
Netanyahu is a professional liar par excellance. He is a master of prevarication, quibbling and verbal juggling. Devoid of simple honesty and rectitude, the Israeli premier has a zero credibility.
First of all, Netanyahu's occupation army occupies every street and neighborhood in Ramallah and the rest of Palestine from Lebanon to Gaza and from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean . Hence, he doesn't need a permission from Mahmoud Abbas to go to the "capital" of the PA administration.
Furthermore, Netanyahu's pretension about longing for peace is absolutely false. In the final analysis, a country that truly desires peace doesn't build hundreds of colonies in occupied territories nor does transfer hundreds of thousands of its citizens to neighbors' territories in order to live on land that belongs to another people.
But what do Netanyahu and other Israeli officials really mean when they keep invoking the mantra of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state?
They surely don't have in mind the encapsulation of equality and justice in Israeli laws, nor the necessary absence of any systematic discrimination based on ethnicity and confessional affiliation.
The truth of the matter is that when Zionist leaders invoke the "Jewish state" mantra, they have two things in mind:
First, completing the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians, the native inhabitants of the land, which began in 1948?
Israeli spokespersons and intellectuals often express remorse for not "completing the job" they started 65 years ago.
They are so sorry that Israel allowed a quarter of a million Palestinians to stay in their homes.
These 250,000 Palestinians have grown in number, reaching 1.6 million people in " Israel proper" alone. They now constitute about one fourth of Israel 's population.
Israeli demographers and strategic planners view the very existence of this large non-Jewish demographic mass as a painful thorn in Israel 's side. If added to the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinians constitute an absolute majority of about 51% of the population west of the River Jordan. Hence, the Israeli dilemma.
The other issue behind incessant Israeli demands for a Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees uprooted from their ancestral homeland when the Zionist entity was established more than 65 years ago.
The right of return is considered the ultimate anathema for Israel and Zionism. After all, Israel wouldn't have survived and grown had it not been for the expulsion and dispersion of these Palestinians all over the globe.
Yet, the right of return represents the essence of the Palestinian problem as no durable solution to the conflict can be imagined in the absence of repatriating the refugees.
To his credit, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat resisted all Israeli and American pressure to cede the right of return for the refugees. He told the Americans on several occasions that ceding the right of return could cost him his life.
The current Palestinian leaderm Mahmoud Abbas, doesn't expressly say he would give up the right of return. However statements by Abbas, such as voicing his willingness to give up his right to return to Safad, his native town and birthplace, raises question- marks about the depth of his commitment to this paramount national issue.
Moreover, it is often noted that Abbas's responses to Israel 's "Jewish state's whims" have been flaccid, mediocre and quite tepid.
The likely reason for this flaccidity is Abbas's keenness not to anger the Americans, the bankroller of his regime.
However, Palestinians must communicate a strong message to Abbas, telling him in an unmistakable manner that the right of return is not and must not be a subject of political maneuvers and bargaining.
Indeed, clinging to the right of return is the best response to Israel 's whims about Jewish statehood. After all, this right is well-rooted in international law.
Now the question that begs itself is: Will the PA have the political courage to tell Israel and her guardian-ally, the United States, that the right of return is an ultimate red line and that there can be no real solution to the decades-old strife without granting these wretched refugees their natural right to return to their homes from which they were expelled at gunpoint at the hands of barbarian Jewish invaders from Eastern Europe?
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