12 December 2014
Abbas’ Cairo Interview
The Demise of Israel: Hidden in Plain Sight
Here are three quotations from the interview given by PLO appointed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the Egyptian newspaper ‘Akhbar Al-Yawm’ on 30 November 2014.
“Israel must recognize the June 4, 1967 border”.
“We cannot recognize a Jewish state”.
“There are six million refugees who wish to return, and by the way, I am one of them”.
(MEMRI 05 Dec 2014 Special Dispatch5898)
The occasion was the meeting of the Arab League on the previous day in Cairo where the Arab League restated its position as:
“categorical rejection of recognising Israel as a Jewish state”
(Al-Ahram online 29 Nov 2014)
These terms were almost identical to a statement by the 22-member body made earlier in the year when the Council of the Arab League stated that it:
“emphasizes its rejection of recognizing Israel as a ‘Jewish state’ "(Al-Jazeera online 09 Mar 2014)
The same Al- Jazeera article observed that:
“Israel has been pushing to make recognition of Israel as a Jewish state a requirement for peace with the Palestinians”.
It was in response to Israel’s position that at the end of 2013 Abbas gave a letter to John Kerry, the US Secretary of State. This singled out for attention the continued Palestinian position as:
“refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state”
(Al-Jazeera 13 Dec 2013)
None of this is new or exceptional. It is the standard, rock-solid basic Palestinian position constantly reiterated without deviation in Palestinian political discourse, the media, educational system and mosques. In fact, the idea of accepting Israel as a Jewish state is contemptuously dismissed. As Abbas remarked:
"What is the 'Jewish state'? We call it the 'State of Israel'. You can call yourselves whatever you want, but I will not accept it. I say this on live broadcast".
(Palestinian TV 27 April 2009, Palwatch.org)
Likewise, prior to the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations General Assembly in 2011, he said simply:
"We refuse to recognize a Jewish state"
(Palestinian TV 02 June 2011, Memri clip 2959)
It was on this basis that the Palestinian delegation at the General Assembly refused to agree to the formula of 2 states for 2 peoples. This had been proposed by the Quartet in an effort to restart negotiations by softening the issue with the omission of Israel as a Jewish state.
"I've said it before and I'll say it again: I will never recognize the Jewishness of the state, or a Jewish state".
(23 October 2011, Memri clip 3163)