Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian National Authority, is quoted as having insisted last Saturday night: “Don’t order us to recognize a Jewish state. We won’t accept it.” This, of course, should come as no surprise to anyone and is simply a reiteration of what he has stated on a number of previous occasions.
Why won’t Abbas recognize the Jewish State? There are a host of reasons.
Firstly, to recognize a Jewish State would be to accept Israel’s legitimacy as a country in the community of nations. As long as Palestinians believe that our presence here is both temporary and reversible, they are not going to come to terms with our existence.
Secondly, the very notion of a Jewish State in the Middle East is anathema to Muslims, who believe that this part of the world is Dar al-Islam (the abode of Islam) and that non-Muslims only have the right to live here as dhimmis, or protected minorities.
Thirdly, while Jews see their return to Zion as a fulfilment of the prophetic vision and as an answer to two thousand years of yearning, Palestinian leaders and propagandists deny our historical connection to the land of Israel and even go so far as to assert that there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. (The Palestinian Authority has plans to use the Western Wall Plaza for a housing project.)
Fourthly, were Abbas to recognize the Jewish State, he would have to forgo his plans of flooding Israel with the descendents of Palestinian refugees, thereby upsetting the demographic balance in our country and turning its Jewish population into a minority in their own land.
Palestinians, and even Arab members of Knesset, constantly demand that Israel be “a country of all its citizens”. What they mean by that is not that Israel should be democratic – which it already is – but that the Jewish ethos of the nation should be dismantled.
While Mahmoud Abbas objects to Israel being a Jewish State, which has a 20% Arab minority, he has nevertheless repeatedly stated that there will be no room for Jews in his Palestinian state when it is established. One can only wonder why.