It has emerged that the Palestinians refused any discussion of Israel’s demand for recognition as a Jewish state, even after Israeli negotiators showed great flexibility in crafting language that would be amenable to both sides, The Times of Israel said on Sunday.
The Israeli delegation to the now-defunct peace talks offered to work with their Palestinian counterparts on the wording of the desired declaration, proposing a formula that would given equal weight to both Jewish and Palestinian rights to self-determination. In addition, they would have agreed to a clause guaranteeing the rights of Israel’s Arab minority.
“We were prepared to be creative with the language, but not the concept,” an official said.
But the Palestinians, who had sweepingly rejected the Israeli demand publicly, would not consider any form of it in private talks, either.
They justified their rejectionist position arguing it would force them to accept the Zionist narrative, give up their alleged “right of return” and undermine the standing of Arab citizens of Israel.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni tried to explain that recognition would not mean any of those things, but to no avail.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has since declared his intention to pass a Basic Law that would be “a constitutional anchor for Israel’s status as the national state of the Jewish people,” as he put it.