“Palestine Papers” the Guardian buried: Palestinians refused to characterize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people

This is cross posted by Elder of Ziyon

In the preparation for Annapolis, the Israeli and Palestinian Arab negotiators discussed what a joint statement might look like. Tzipi Livni wanted to say that the end-game is two states for two peoples – and the Palestinian Arabs objected, for reasons that they themselves detailed.

Here are some sections of the discussion:

Tzipi Livni: Two states is the ultimate goal of the process. But also part of the TOR [Terms of Reference document they are drafting.] Each state is the answer to the natural aspirations of its people.

Saeb Erekat: [Raises roadmap language regarding unequivocal duty to accept each state as is. Reads from the roadmap.]

TL: To say the idea that two nation states contradicts the roadmap..…

SE: [But we’ve never denied Israel’s right to define itself.]
If you want to call your state the Jewish State of Israel you can call it what you want. [Notes examples of Iran and Saudi Arabia.]

TL: I said basically that our position is a reference to the fact thateach state is an answer to the national aspirations of their people.

Akram Haniyeh: There was an article in Haaretz saying that Palestinians would be stupid if they accept this [i.e. the Jewish state].

TL: Someone wrote the Palestinians?

Ahmed Querei [AA]: I want to say two state solution living side by side in peace security stability and prosperity, Palestinian democratic state independent with sovereignty, viable with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Tal Becker: That’s all? [Sarcastically.]

AA: Yes that’s our position. Two state solution living side by side in peace security stability and prosperity, Palestinian democratic state independent with sovereignty, viable with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is what we want to have. This small sentence.

TL: I just want to say something. …Our idea is to refer to two states for two peoples. Or two nation states, Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace and security with each state constituting the homeland for its people and the fulfillment of their national aspirations and self determination

AH: This refers to the Israeli people?

TL: [Visibly angered.] I think that we can use another session – about what it means to be a Jew and that it is more than just a religion. But if you want to take us back to 1947 — it won’t help. Each state constituting the homeland for its people and the fulfillment of their national aspirations and self determination in their own territory. Israel the state of the Jewish people — and I would like to emphasize the meaning of “its people” is the Jewish people — with Jerusalem the united and undivided capital of Israel and of the Jewish people for 3007 years… [The Palestinian team protests.] You asked for it. [AA: We said East Jerusalem!] …and Palestine for the Palestinian people. We did not want to say that there is a “Palestinian people” but we’ve accepted your right to self determination.

AA: Why is it different?

TL: I didn’t ask for something that relates to my own self. I didn’t ask for recognizing something that is the internal decision of Israel. Israel can do so, it is a sovereign state. [We want you to recognize it.] The whole idea of the conflict is … the entire point is the establishment of the Jewish state. And yet we still have a conflict between us. We used to think it is because the Jews and the Arabs… but now the Palestinians… we used to say that we have no right to define the Palestinian people as a people. They can define it themselves. In 1947 it was between Jews and Arabs, and then [at that point the purpose] from the Israeli side to [was] say that the Palestinians are Arabs and not [Palestinians – it was an excuse not to create a Palestinian state. We’’ve passed that point in time and I’’m not going to raise it. The whole conflict between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is not the idea of creating a democratic state that is viable etc. It is to divide it into two.] For each state to create its own problem. Then we can ask ourselves is it viable, what is the nature of the two states. In order to end the conflict we have to say that this is the basis. I know that your problem is saying this is problematic because of the refugees. During the final status negotiations we will have an answer to the refugees. You know my position. Even having a Jewish state — it doesn’t say anything about your demands. …. Without it, why should we create a Palestinian state?

…There is something that is shorter. I can read something with different wording:
That the ultimate goal is constituting the homeland for the Jewish people and the Palestinian people respectively, and the fulfillment of their national aspirations and self determination in their own territory.

The joint declaration at Annapolis did not include any wording about the Jewish people, but afterwards President Bush said “The [final peace] settlement will establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people just as Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people…The United States will keep its strong commitment to the security of the State of Israel and its existence as a homeland for the Jewish people.”

By the way, the Guardian definitely saw this memo, because it was the one that they and Al Jazeera misquoted as saying that Livni said against international law.she was (She didn’t.)

6 replies »

  1. Thank you for this, Elder. I think it is a much more interesting document that the former.

    Livni flatly contradicts the P.A. assertion that recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, according some legitimacy to Zionism, means thereby recognizing a Jewish national right to all of historic Palestine.

    Livni is saying that her formula recognizes a Jewish national right to the territory of a Jewish state, but not to a Palestinian state, since that is the fulfiiment of the national aspirations of the Palestinian people.

    Recognising a moderate Zionist claim to the territory of Israel does not mean recognizing an ultra-Zionist claim to the territory of a Palestinian state.

    I really think Jonathan Freedland has been a total schuck about this.

  2. “There was an article in Haaretz saying that Palestinians would be stupid if they accept this [i.e. the Jewish state].”

    So Haniyeh’s flat rejection of Jewish national aspirations is buttressed by Haaretz? That’s crystal-clear proof that Haaretz is — like the Guardian — an enemy of the Jewish people, doing significant harm to Jewish national aspirations. By tolerating it (on the spurious grounds of freedom of speech), Israel is slitting its own throat.

    It is also a mistake for Israel to now debate the issue of Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. At Oslo, Israel made a historic concession — to the creation of a Palestinian entity in the West Bank — and thought she was getting non-belligerency and recognition in return. On both counts, the Palestinains have successfully played the entire Jewish people for fools. Israel should privately tell the Palestinians that Oslo, and the PA, are dead and buried unless the PA adheres to non-belligerancy and recognition, in implementation of Oslo.

  3. The P.A. objection is kind of ridiculous, since the formula obviously confines Jewish national claims to the territory of Israel.

  4. The root obstacle is not the one it says i.e. that recognising Israel as a Jewish state means conceding all of historical Palestine to Jewish national claims.

    The root obstacle is that it concedes a fundamental moral premise to Israel’s existence, legitimating a permanent presence, rather than a temporary, grudgingly acknowledge fait accomplis, which is little better than the offer of a truce.

  5. Benny Morris:

    “Palestinian political elites, of both the so-called “secular” and Islamist varieties, are dead set against partitioning the Land of Israel/Palestine with the Jews. They regard all of Palestine as their patrimony and believe that it will eventually be theirs. History, because of demography and the steady empowerment of the Arab and Islamic worlds and the West’s growing alienation from Israel, and because of Allah’s wishes, is, they believe, on their side. They do not want a permanent two-state solution, with a Palestinian Arab state co-existing alongside a (larger) Jewish state; they will not compromise on this core belief and do not believe, on moral or practical grounds, that they should.

    This basic Palestinian rejectionism, amounting to a Weltanschauung, is routinely ignored or denied by most Western commentators and officials. To grant it means to admit that the Israeli-Arab conflict has no resolution apart from the complete victory of one side or the other (with the corollary of expulsion, or annihilation, by one side of the other)—which leaves leaders like President Barack Obama with nowhere realistic to go with regard to the conflict…

    “In this connection, our age, it may turn out, resembles the classic age of appeasement, the 1930s, when the Western democracies (and the Soviet Union) were ranged against, but preferred not to confront, Nazi Germany and its allies, Fascist Italy, and expansionist Japan. During that decade, Hitler’s inexorable martial, racist, and uncompromising mindset was misread by Western leaders, officials, and intellectuals—and for much the same reasons…

    “Another problem for Westerners is that the Palestinians, by design or no, speak to them in several voices. Hamas, which may represent the majority of the Palestinian people and certainly has the unflinching support of some 40 percent of them, speaks clearly. It openly repudiates a two-state solution. Hamas leaders, to bamboozle naïve (or wicked) Westerners like Henry Siegman, occasionally express a tactical readiness for a long-term truce under terms that they know are unacceptable to any Jewish Israelis (complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and acceptance of the refugees’ “Right of Return”), but their strategic message is clear, echoing the Roman statesman Cato the Elder: “Israel must be destroyed.”

    The secular Palestinian leadership looks to a similar historical denouement but is more flexible on the tactics and pacing. They express a readiness for a two-state solution but envision such an outcome as intermediate and temporary. They speak of two states, a Palestinian Arab West Bank-Gaza-East Jerusalem state and another state whose population is Jewish and Arab and which they believe will eventually become majority-Arab within a generation or two through Arab procreation (Palestinian Arab birth-rates are roughly twice those of Israeli Jews) and the “return” of Palestinians with refugee status. This is why Fatah’s leaders, led by Palestine National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, flatly reject the Clintonian formula of “two states for two peoples” and refuse to recognize the “other” state, Israel, as a “Jewish state.” They hope that this “other” state will also, in time, be “Arabized,” thus setting the stage for the eventual merger of the two temporary states into one Palestinian Arab-majority state between the River and the Sea.”