Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended his explanation as under which conditions Israel would recognize the existence of an independent Palestinian state. He insisted Palestine must be demilitarized and not be allowed to control its own air space or to have the capability of militarily threatening Israel. On this point, the Israel prime minister has a valid argument. Given the size of Israel, if a Palestinian state came under the control of radical groups and had access to rockets and planes it would pose a serious threat to Israel. On the other hand, Israel must give iron clad guarantees to Palestine that it will not interfere in the internal affairs of that nation.
However, Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians recognize the existence of a “Jewish state” raises serious questions. One out of five people in Israel are Muslims and to accept the concept their country is not representative of their existence is simply not tolerable. Jews in America constitute less than two percent of the population and would be furious if America was termed a “Christian nation.” This is a semantic argument and has no place in serious negotiations.
The West Bank continues to be ignored by Netanyahu, but no nation of Palestine could simply surrender a large portion of their territory because some Jewish settlers want to live there. The West Bank was awarded to Arabs, not the new nation of Israel. The land was illegally seized and must be returned.
Perhaps, in surrendering the complete right of return of Arab refugees a compromise could be worked out allowing a small piece of the West Bank to be exchanged for land in Israel such as a road connecting Gaza to the remainder of the country.