The foreign minister for the Palestinian Authority says Palestinians will “never accept under any circumstances” the idea that Israel is a Jewish state, negating the 3,000 year Jewish connection with the Holy Land.
Foreign Minister Riad Malki, in an interview with the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat characterized the Israeli government demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state as the most intractable issue facing the current round of peace talks sponsored by Secretary of State John Kerry.
“This is a sharply contentious issue. It would be dangerous to recognize this because this would mean our acceptance of the dissolution of our own history and ties and our historic right to Palestine,” Malki said.
“This is something that we will never accept under any circumstances. Acceptance of this would also raise fears about the fate of the 1.8 million Palestinians living in Israel. They are already second-class citizens, so how will they be affected by the Judaization of the state? This also raises questions about the [Palestinian] refugees and the right of return. So this is something that we absolutely cannot accept,” he added.
A key cornerstone of the Palestinian narrative, one accepted at face value in most diplomatic circles, is that they were present in the Holy Land before the Jews, and therefore have a greater moral right to the territory as part of a future independent state. Supporters of the Palestinian position often compare the Palestinians to “indigenous” peoples like Native Americans and call Israel a “colonizer.”
The pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon (EOZ) wrote of Malki’s interview, “Isn’t that interesting? The Palestinian position is that if there is any Jewish history in Israel, then Palestinian Arab history goes *poof*. So they must deny history in order to maintain their bogus claims!”
EOZ frequently posts documents, newspaper clippings, stamps and coins to provide historical testimony about the continuous Jewish presence in the Holy Land over millennia.
“Now, it is true – there is no particularly Palestinian Arab history to speak of before the 20th century. No one identified themselves as Palestinian, there was no particularly Palestinian cuisine or dress or culture (although some towns did have their own specific costumes and crafts.) But this answer betrays how flimsy Palestinian Arab ties to the land are (as a people),” EOZ wrote.
“Imagine if a US official said that he or she could not recognize Native Americans as being their own peoples – because to do that would be to deny American history,” EOZ added in response to the Palestinian foreign minister’s comments.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which monitors the official Palestinian media, also addressed the zero sum game over land ownership.
PMW wrote in a fact sheet, “Rewriting the history of the Land of Israel in order to deny Israel’s right to exist is central to Palestinian Authority (PA) policy. Long before it started the PA terror campaign (the “Intifada,” 2000-2005), the PA was fighting a history war – erasing Jewish history and replacing it with a fabricated Palestinian history.”
“This rewriting has two central goals: 1- Erase the Jewish nation’s 3,000 year history in the Land of Israel; 2- Invent ancient Palestinian, Muslim and Arab histories in the land,” PMW added.
Another revelation in Foreign Minister Malki’s interview hints that Kerry may also accept the narrative that the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) belongs to the Palestinians.
“What we have explicitly and clearly heard from the Americans is that the territory of the West Bank will be returned to the Palestinians, as it was before, and the Palestinians will not receive less than this,” Malki said. “We will have the entire territory of the West Bank: that is the principle. As for how it will be implemented, we have yet to study this.”
Despite the alleged American guarantee regarding the land handover, Malki remains deeply pessimistic about the outcome of the negotiations.
“I cannot say that we have achieved any progress whatsoever,” he said.
(H/T: Elder of Ziyon)