The Palestinians Could Recognize a Jewish State – They Don’t Think They’ll Have To

by Gedalyah Reback

Both Israel and the Palestinians have a precondition for negotiations to continue. The Palestinians want construction in the settlements to stop and the Israelis want the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel as a “Jewish” state.

The fact that these are the two things that the two governments have to declare publicly demonstrates neither side wants to restart peace talks.

On the Palestinian side, Mahmoud Abbas wants to maximize Palestinian leverage over Israel. Both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas have rejected genuinely serious offers from Ehud Barak in 2000, then Ehud Olmert in 2008. Israel now faces the diplomatic wrath of the world with only the United States and a smattering of other countries behind her.

Israel has both Netanyahu guarding his political coalition and its psychological insecurity about the physical security of the country adjacent to a territory over which it would not have military control.

As for whether or not Netanyahu’s or Abbas’ government constitutes a “partner for peace,” that depends on whether or not the two sides actually want to negotiate. At that point, either both sides are so-called “partners” or neither is. History would say either side would eventually cave to negotiate, but the Palestinians have never had this much leverage before and they seem set on using it.

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