One of the main points that Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu raises, when talking about what it would take to achieve success in “direct” negotiations with the present Palestinian leadership, is the necessity for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a “state for the Jewish people”.
This is an improved formulation over the earlier version (which former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon included in Israel’s 14 reservations to the U.S.-backed Road Map in 2003) of requiring acceptance of a “Jewish State”.
However, there is no real clarity about what, exactly, that would mean. Palestinians fear it is formula to withdraw rights and citizenship from the one million or so (20-25% of Israel’s population) who are Palestinian Arabs, and that it also means agreement acquiescence in wiping out any and all residual claims of some 4 or 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants living in a diaspora around the world.
So far, it is a dialog of the deaf.
Palestinians of almost all political views react with outrage, anger… and smoldering fury.
Continue reading Danny Ayalon gives a glimpse of what Israel officials mean by "a state for the Jewish people"
January 13, 2010
H.E. The Ambassador of Turkey
Mr. Ahmet Oguz Celikkol
I wish to express my personal respect for you and the Turkish people and assure you that although we have our differences of opinion on several issues, they should be discussed and solved only through open, reciprocal and respectful diplomatic channels between our two governments.
I had no intention to humiliate you personally and apologize for the way the demarche was handled and perceived. Please convey this to the Turkish people for whom we have great respect.
I hope that both Israel and Turkey will seek diplomatic and courteous channels to convey messages as two allies should.
Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel
Concerns expressed by the UN’s high-level Special Representative for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, about recent and possible future evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem and about the continuing blockade against Gaza, were rebuffed in a meeting on Sunday with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.
UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry to the left, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on the right, photo by Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In a press summary sent to journalists by email, the Israeli Foreign Ministry reported that “The Deputy Foreign Minister emphasized that Jerusalem is an extremely important and sensitive issue not just for Israel, but for the Jewish people as a whole. Ayalon stressed that Jerusalem remains the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel and as such Israeli law is applicable there. There is a consensus view on this issue, not just in Israel but around the Jewish world. The Deputy Foreign Minister reemphasized the important humanitarian steps that Israel has taken in Judea and Samaria towards the Palestinian population there. ‘We would like to further alleviate the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and at the same time it is important that the international community will increase the pressure on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit’ Ayalon told Serry during the meeting”.
In other words, Serry received a resounding rebuff.
On the 2nd of August, the day two families of Palestinian refugees were evicted from their homes by Israeli Border Police at gunpoint and replaced by Jewish settlers, Serry issued a statement saying that “today’s totally unacceptable actions by Israel… to allow settlers to take possession of these properties.” And, he said, the evictions violated the International Quartet’s calls for Israel to “refrain from provocative acts in East Jerusalem.”