Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been challenged by President Obama to focus on the importance of peace in the Middle East, but the Israeli politician is more focused on securing votes than peace. He finally came out in support of the existence of an independent Palestinian state, but the “buts” are clearly an impediment to moving along the road to peace. “If we have guarantees,” he said, “of demilitarization and security arrangements required for Israel and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people we will be prepared to in a real peace arrangement to achieve an independent Palestinian state.” However, in the next breath he made clear Jerusalem must remain under Jewish control and praised West Bank settlers and insisted they have the right to expand housing based on normal population increases.
President Abbas responded to this “offer” saying “Netanyahu’s remarks have sabotaged all initiatives , paralyzed all efforts being made, and challenge the Palestinian, Arab and American positions.” No one denies the right of Israel to insist on a demilitarized Palestinian state, but to demand that Palestinians must accept the idea that Israel is a “Jewish state” when one out of five of its inhabitants is not Jewish is simply unheard of in any form of international interactions. Could Netanyahu identify another example in which a nation must accept that another nation is “X” or “Y?”
There are numerous reports that Arab nations are not oblivious of limiting their demands on the “right of return.” This can be negotiated, but it will entail Israeli compromises. Step one is to recognize that Jerusalem will be ruled by both peoples.