Did Netanyahu Invent the Demand that Israel Be Recognized as a Jewish State? No. – Yair Rosenberg (Tablet)
Former Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invented the controversial demand that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state in a future peace agreement with the Palestinians in 2010. But this claim doesn’t stand up to historical scrutiny.
In fact, according to the “Palestine Papers” – a massive trove of leaked documents published by Al Jazeera – the demand was broached by then Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in 2007 in Annapolis prior to Netanyahu’s election in 2009. On November 13, 2007, Livni discussed the subject of Israel’s Jewish character with the Palestinian negotiating team:
“The ultimate goal is constituting the homeland for the Jewish people and the Palestinian people respectively, and the fulfillment of their national aspirations and self-determination in their own territory.”
Actually, as Israel’s chief archivist Yaacov Lozowick has documented, the idea that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state was conceived years earlier:
“In July 2001…a group of some two dozen intellectuals from both sides convened…[to formulate a] joint declaration….The Israelis, alerted by the fiascos of Camp David and Taba to a nuance they had previously overlooked, demanded that the statement clearly say that Israel would be a Jewish state and Palestine an Arab one. The Palestinians refused. Jews, they said, are a religion, not a nationality, and neither need nor deserve their own state.”
(To see the whole article, click on the title…Ed.)