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Would There Be Jews in Palestine?

Parsing the PLO ambassador; plus, what the U.N. initiative used to be

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Ambassador Men Rashid Areikat.(PLO general delegation)

Statements this week by the Palestine Liberation Organization’s ambassador to the United States, Maen Rashid Areikat, have implied that maybe there would be Jews in a Palestinian state, maybe not. “After the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated,” he told reporters earlier this week. He then clarified, “Under no circumstances was I saying that no Jews can be in Palestine. … I never said that, and I never meant to say such a thing. This is not a religious conflict, and we want to establish a secular state.” The Center for American Progress’ Matt Duss notes that this notion originates in an interview Areikat gave a year ago … to literary editor David Samuels in Tablet Magazine. If we go that particular tape, we do find Areikat repeatedly moving toward a definition of Jewishness that is religious rather than ethnic, a premise that allows him to question both the wisdom of having Jews in Palestine and the validity of Israel’s being recognized as the Jewish state:

Everywhere in the world, Jews follow the nationality and citizenship of the country where they live. In the United States, you have American Jews, who live in the United States. You have French Jews. And this was the original argument between us and the Jews. Why can’t you be Palestinian Jews? …

At one point, we believed that Jews are followers of religion, and not a nation and a people, and I’ll tell you why. In order to be one people, one nation, you have to be homogenous. …

Israel is a political establishment that claims to represent Jews all over the world. I very much doubt that Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu represent every Jew in the world. I know there are Jews who don’t agree with Netanyahu. …

I’m not saying to transfer every Jew, I’m saying transfer Jews who, after an agreement with Israel, fall under the jurisdiction of a Palestinian state.

Any Jew who is inside the borders of Palestine will have to leave? [asked Samuels.]

Absolutely. I think this is a very necessary step, before we can allow the two states to somehow develop their separate national identities, and then maybe open up the doors for all kinds of cultural, social, political, economic exchanges, that freedom of movement of both citizens of Israelis and Palestinians from one area to another. You know you have to think of the day after.

But it becomes clear that Areikat’s real objection to recognizing Israel as the Jewish state is strategic:

Let’s say that tomorrow the Palestinian leadership comes out and says, “OK, we’re ready to recognize the Jewishness of the state.” What implications would that have, immediately, on the Palestinians? You know that in our view the refugee problem is the crux of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Today we have 6.5 million registered refugees out of 10 or 10.5 million Palestinians. One out of six refugees in the world is Palestinian. By accepting Israel’s claim now, that they are a Jewish state, we are telling the Israelis: Forget about the refugees, forget about their plight, no right of return, no U.N. General Assembly resolution 194; we are giving up the refugee issue, we are taking it off the table before we even started negotiating.

Yet what is most remarkable about the interview is its time-capsule nature. One year ago—the interview was published last October—Fatah, the moderate Palestinian faction that controls the PLO and the Palestinian Authority and of which Areikat is a loyal member, consciously cast itself as the weaker party, at Israel’s whim, quietly building the trappings of statehood under Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. “Israel is the stronger party in the equation,” Areikat said then. “Palestinians have no way of forcing Israel to accept anything.” One year later, the U.N. move has been transformed from a practical next step in the peace process into a symbolic end-run around it. This bait-and-switch, and how little notice it’s received, is striking.

PLO Ambassador Says Palestinian State Should Be Free of Jews [USA Today]
Report of Palestinian State Free of Jews Was Misinterpretation, Official Says [Huff Post]
Areikat’s Comments on Jews in Palestine [Middle East Progress]
Q&A: Maen Rashid Areikat [Tablet Magazine]

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Sounds fair. But please: let’s not have the beasts whine when there are no Muslims in Israel, and the Islamic colonies are dismantled in the West.

Binyamin in O says:

As a pre-condition for freedom, were African-Americans or Native Americans required to “recognize” the U.S. as a European/Christian state? No. We simply said you are human beings and therefore you deserve human rights. In a democracy, that means equal rights.

Of course, Jews should be allowed to live in Palestine, as long as they obey Palestinian law (and can be punished by Palestinian courts for breaches of that law), pay taxes to the Palestinian government, and subject their children to a Palestinian draft. Law abiding Jewish citizens should be welcomed; land thieves and those committed to denying Palestine’s right to exist should not.

And the Palestinian ambassador to Lebanon said to The Daily Star, Lebanon, that the refugees will not become citizens of the new state.

Ray in Seattle says:

Why does Israel act so timidly in the face of such obvious aggression, outright lies and bad faith going back for several decades now?

Israel should state that after over four decades of honest attempts by several Israeli governments to abide by Res 242 and negotiate final borders – the result being never ending refusals by Palestinian leaders to negotiate or accept or counter-offer any of Israel’s offers – Israel will simply have to annex those parts of the West Bank it deems necessary to control as part of its need for self defense. This after perhaps one last offer to negotiate with no preconditions that will be withdrawn after 90 days.

This will necessarily have to include most settlements near the ’67 lines as well as areas along the Jordan River extending up to the Golan that will henceforth become Eastern Israel. This is what any other sane and sensible democracy would do under the circumstances.

If the Pals will not allow negotiations as per Res 242 – at least Israel can unilaterally abide by its spirit and intention.

Jack Atherton says:

No Jews in Palestine.

Does that mean that Israel should expel all Muslims?

Quid pro quo.

Wow what good pot you must all smoke. Thrilled to know that Gen Y in the United States is no longer so Pro Israeli as to risk our dollars,future economic ties with the much larger anr relevant Mulsim worls and security on defending what is a pretend democratic, xenophobix nation.

Why should Palestine be different that the other Arab states? All the Jews living in Arab countries have been ethnically cleansed since 1948 and countries like Jordan don’t allow Jews to buy land.

Shalom Freedman says:

The Palestinian Arabs can do and say anything and still receive unabashed approval from global media. Their upside down version of reality has become the standard narrative of the Middle East conflict. In fact both Hamas and Fatah refuse to truly accept Israel. Hamas however is for a one- stage solution while Fatah is for a two- stage scenario i.e. A peace agreement followed by destroying Israel by flooding it with descendants of 48′ refugees. 3o it is not surprising that the U.N. ambassador insists there will be no Jew in the new Palestinian state. Ultimately their goal is the Palestinian state in all the historical land of Israel in which there will remain no Jews. All the media of the Palestinian Authority in fact show a map in which there is no Israel but only Arab Palestine.

I will pay to have the Neturei Karta, who openly support the Palestinians against the state of Israel, and all other haredi and Hasidic groups like Satmar, who are viciously anti-Zionist, to be transferred to Palestine.

Let them live with the Arabs since they have no use for Israel.

While we are at it, maybe we can have the inhabitants of Meah Shearim and such areas permanently moved to Palestinian control.

This would be supported by the vast majority of Israelis, I am sure.

At least something good will come out of this.

AdamPlasley says:

I think from an Irishamerican point, that this story is been misunderstood, maybe by mistake or US/Israel lobby own this media two. Look what ever small bit of land is left what is wrong with the Palestine haven their own haven away from Israel, that has invited every Jew in the world to move over and settle on their land that they have lived on and farmed for all of time. If u let people that don’t respect the fact it not their country buy up land, sure there is no way of knowing that they may feel in a while that they want to make Israel bigger and clam another part of your country. Maybe set up false cells to attack them self’s and blame it on Palestine to justify it. Maybe in time to come the Palestine can trust Israeli, but trust is something you earn. After all the people Israel has flushed out !

To Jack: we can at least start by referring to Arab residential locations in Israel as “Arab settlements”, no?

And was he talking about “Jews” or “pigs”? See:


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Would There Be Jews in Palestine?

Parsing the PLO ambassador; plus, what the U.N. initiative used to be

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