Friday, February 21, 2014

  • Friday, February 21, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon

From Haaretz:
One of the interviewers was Haaretz’s editor in chief, the other the paper’s senior diplomatic reporter. Both were first-class professionals with vast experience, and both were lily-white doves. Nevertheless, the two peace-seeking interviewers dared to ask the high-level interviewee a question that’s currently considered beyond the pale in these parts: Should Israel continue to be a Jewish state?

Surprisingly, the evasive interviewee gave a decisive answer: “Definitely.” The two experienced interviewers doubled-checked: Definitely? “Definitely,” confirmed the interviewee, giving an expansive interpretation of the historic decision made by the Palestine National Council 16 years earlier.

Thus it’s no surprise that Haaretz’s lead headline on June 18, 2004 trumpeted his statement: “Arafat: Israel is Jewish.” On the basis of what the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization told David Landau and Akiva Eldar in Ramallah 10 years ago, the paper declared unambiguously that “Yasser Arafat ‘definitely’ understands that Israel must preserve its character as a Jewish state.”

Veteran journalist Amnon Abramovich says the Israeli media lives by the 90-day rule. Under this rule, any article published in the past can be republished as a fresh scoop as long as it hasn’t been published in the past 90 days. So in line with the Abramovich rule, I hereby seek to revive Haaretz’s dramatic scoop: Arafat recognized Israel as a Jewish state. The leader of the Palestinian revolution, president of the Palestinian Authority and commander of the armed struggle accepted the fact that Israel is a Jewish state, and must continue to be one.
This is sort of amazing.

There have been scores of articles official statements and articles in the Palestinian Arab press, in English and Arabic, explaining why recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is a non-starter, is unacceptable and is even racist.

Yet none of these people would ever disagree with Arafat.

Obviously, Arafat was a terrorist, a murderer, and a liar. The full interview is no longer on Haaretz' website; the synopsis says that Arafat said that the PLO "accepted that openly and officially in 1988 at our Palestine National Council." That is more than a stretch; the UN record of the PLO communique at the time certainly doesn't say that. The closest it says is this:

Despite the historical injustice done to the Palestinian Arab people in its displacement and in being deprived of the right to self-determination following the adoption of General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 1947, which partitioned Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish State, that resolution nevertheless continues to attach conditions to international legitimacy that guarantee the Palestinian Arab people the right to sovereignty and national independence.
If they are attaching their legitimacy to a non-binding UN resolution that they rejected - which is the very reason it has no legal validity - then perhaps one can say that in 1988  they accepted the concept of a Jewish state on the partition lines. Again, he was a master of deception and this seems more than tenuous.

Nevertheless, his wording in this interview is quite definitive and it did not cause any major firestorm within the PLO as far as I can tell. Indeed, the statement has been wholly forgotten.

Notice also that the liberal Haaretz interviewers are mentioning this as a major issue in 2004 - before Netanyahu was re-elected, before Livni made the same demand in negotiations to be rebuffed by the PLO negotiating team in 2007. It is not a new issue.

It will be most interesting to see how Abbas, Erekat and the gang of liars in charge of the PLO will react to this.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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