Earlier this month in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority, I interviewed Ghassan Khatib, director of government media for the Palestinian Authority and the spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. I asked him the same question: Do the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state?
He was more direct than the Palestinians students at Stanford.
His long answer amounted to: "No."
They don't even recognize that there is a Jewish people. Did you know that Abbas, in his U.N. speech, refused even to use the words "Jew" or "Jewish?" In referring to Israel, he spoke of "the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him)...." I guess no Jews have ever lived in "the Holy Land." Ridiculous, except no one is paying attention to the continuing intransigence of the Arabs. For instance:
Two Israeli peace proposals, in 2000 and 2008 … met virtually all of the Palestinians' demands for a sovereign state in the areas won by Israel in the 1967 war — in the West Bank, Gaza and even East Jerusalem. But Palestinian President Yasser Arafat rejected the first offer and Abbas ignored the second, for the very same reason their predecessors spurned the 1947 Partition Plan.
Each time, accepting a Palestinian State meant accepting the Jewish State, a concession the Palestinians were unwilling to make.
Finally we get down to it. The issue is not settlements, or land concessions, or the right of return. The issue is as it always has been: they want the Jews dead and/or gone. The only peace the palestinean arabs are interested in is a Jew/Israeli-free peace.
By the way, I find it amusing that the media is wringing its hands at this latest "crisis." The palestinean arabs have been taking these very same positions since before 1948. It's nothing new. It takes two to tango, and the palestinean arabs have refused ever to dance with Israel.