The Jordan Times (Editorial)
August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to convince countries expected to vote in favour of the Palestinian attempt to gain UN recognition for an independent state within the 1967 borders to change their stances.

Recently, Netanyahu invited some 18 ambassadors in Washington, from various regions of the world, to Israel to explain why their countries should vote against a Palestinian state.

The premier accused the Palestinian side of refusing to make compromises on three basic issues which, he claims, justifies a negative vote. They are: the Palestinian refugees’ right of return, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a Palestinian commitment to end the conflict for all times by forfeiting all future claims.

Netanyahu is driving a hard, if not impossible, bargain if he wants the Palestinians to make concessions.

When it comes to the refugees’ right of return, an inalienable right enshrined in UN resolutions and in international human rights norms, it is up to the refugees to decide, of their own volition, whether they want to exercise this basic right or accept compensations instead. As such, the issue is non-negotiable.

As for the recognition of Israel as a strictly Jewish state, it runs counter to the demographic situation in a country where of the total population of over 7 million, about one million and-a-half are Arabs.

This is no small minority group that Israel can ignore. It is a population that has to have rights and be allowed to exercise them.

The call on Palestinians to end all future claims once the two sides sign a peace treaty may be negotiable. The problem is reaching that point, which Israel’s obstinacy constantly makes unattainable.

There is little hope that Netanyahu can succeed in his campaign to thwart the Palestinian plan to seek UN recognition of their state. Still, the Palestinian side should not be complacent, but lobby various capitals vigorously, to ensure that they maintain their pro-Palestinian stand.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017