So Much for the Annapolis Conference? Olmert Says Israel Will Insist on Palestinian Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State; PA's Ekrekat Says No!
Everything you need to know about the Arab-Israeli struggle is illustrated by the photo above, depicting members of Fatah's Al Aqsa terrorist militia trodding on an Israeli flag, painted for that purpose (HT: Boker Tov, Boulder), and by this headline from the Jerusalem Post online: "Ekrekat: We Wouldn't Accept Jewish Israel."
Keep in mind folks, that the State of Israel came into existence as the result of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, passed on November 29, 1947, which provided for the division of the territory covered by the British Mandate over Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Jewish Agency, which was the official representative of the Jewish population of Palestine under the Mandate, accepted the partition, even though both the 1917 Balfour Declaration by Great Britain and the June 1922 League of Nations action creating the British Mandate had declared as their purpose "the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine," i.e., all of Palestine, which then included all of the territory comprising the pre-June 1967 borders of Israel, Gaza, Yehuda and Shomron (the so-called "West Bank") and the Kingdom of Jordan. Indeed, contrary to the express provisions of the League of Nations Mandate, which directed that Great Britain "shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power," the British in September 1922, had taken 77% of the lands covered by the Mandate to create the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan (now Jordan), to be ruled by Emir Abdullah, the son of their wartime Arab ally Sharif Hussein of Mecca. So even prior to November 1947, the future Jewish State had lost 77% of the lands originally designated for it in the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate. Nonetheless, the Jewish Agency accepted the further partition called for in Resolution 181, and on May 15, 1948 declared the independence of the State of Israel on the territories allocated to it by Resolution 181.
The Arabs of Palestine, however, and their brethren in the surrounding Arab nations of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, rejected Resolution 181 and invaded the newborn Jewish State. For the next 60 years, to the present day, it is the refusal of the Arabs to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish State, and only that refusal, that has prevented a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the creation of a Palestinian Arab state in a portion of Palestine. (Of course, one might well conclude based on the history recounted above that such a Palestinian Arab state already exists, in 77% of Mandatory Palestine. It's called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.) All of the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic condemnations of "occupation" to the contrary, the statement today by top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Ekrekat proves that such is still the case, and would still be the case in Annapolis.
Moreover the Israeli and American Jewish Left, as exemplified by Shimon Peres and Peace Now, has always argued, as its leading rationale for territorial concessions, that Israel must cease occupation over areas with an Arab majority population, in order to preserve the identity of Israel as both a democracy and a Jewish State. Ekrekat's statement shows that the Palestinians will never accept the Jewish character of the State of Israel, and will actively work to undermine it following any peace agreement. Indeed, by his declaration, Ekrekat has implicitly repudiated the Oslo Accords, which committed the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel.
"There is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined," Erekat told Radio Palestine, conveniently forgetting about Saudi Arabia, to say nothing about Great Britain. The utterly disingenuous nature of the Palestinian position becomes clear when one realizes that while Israel has some 1.4 million Arab citizens, who enjoy full civil rights, no Jew could survive openly in any area governed by Hamas or the Palestinian authority for more than a few hours.
So does that mean we now can bid goodbye to a still-born Annapolis conference? Unfortunately, the current government of Israel has never drawn a line in the sand that it was not willing to erase. My dire prediction is that Israel will attend the Annapolis conference despite the declaration of the Palestinian Authority that it will never agree to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish State. By doing so, the Olmert government will reduce the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State to just one more issue on the negotiating table, ripe for compromise and concession at the insistent prompting of the United States and the Quartet sponsors of the conference.