One of Israel’s chief conditions for a genuine peace deal is that the Arabs acknowledge the Jewish people’s historical connection to this land.
Arguments can be made regarding who rightly controls which areas today, but these disputes can only be resolved peacefully if the Arabs accept that the Jews are not a foreign invader. At least, that’s how Israeli officials view the situation.
Last week, Israel’s “partners” in the Palestinian Authority again signaled they are not prepared to move beyond this obstacle to peace.
PLO (Palestinian Authority) Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi (pictured) issued a statement harshly decrying an interview US President Barack Obama gave to The New York Times a couple weeks earlier as the Gaza war was winding down.
Obama was asked if, given the increased instability in the Middle East, he was concerned for Israel’s future.
The president replied:
“It is amazing to see what Israel has become over the last several decades. You think about the dream of the early Zionists, to have scratched out of rock this incredibly vibrant, incredibly successful, wealthy and powerful country is a testament to the ingenuity, energy and vision of the Jewish people. And because Israel is so capable militarily, I don’t worry about Israel’s survival.”
For Ashrawi, a Palestinian “moderate,” Obama’s implicit recognition of the Jews’ right to return to this land and rebuild their ancient nation crossed a red line.
“Obama’s adoption of the discourse of extremist Zionist ideology and his turning it
into a basis for political decision-making is dangerous,” she said on Palestinian Authority TV.
Translation of Ashrawi’s remarks was provided by Palestinian Media Watch, which has long documented the Palestinian Authority’s denial of Jewish history in this region as a basis for its position that Israel has no inherent right to exist.