Getting It Straight About the Palestinian Position

The Recognition of Israel: The Contrived Stopper to Middle East Peace
By Dan Lieberman
Dec 14, 2006, 20:11

Israel’s needs and perspectives have guided peace proposals by western negotiators. The biased direction impedes Middle East peace. An example of this bias is British Prime Minister (PM) Tony Blair categorization of Hamas’ refusal to recognize Israel. The British PM emphasized his difficulties with Hamas’ position at his December 7 meeting with President George W. Bush.

“You cannot have a government that everyone can deal with – and you can then negotiate a peace with between Israel and Palestine – unless it is on the basis that everyone accepts the others’ right to exist. That is the difficulty. It is not a kind of technical point. It is absolutely at the heart of it.”

Tony Blair and other western leaders have refused to examine the historical record that prompted the remarks by Hamas leadership and have misled the public in their interpretations of Hamas’ stance.

It has been well known, but only recently revealed by the conventional media, that Israel’s maps, textbooks and declarations to its people show all of the West Bank as part of a “greater Israel.” Peace Now, an Israeli advocacy group has also revealed to all, what has been previously known by many, that 39% (only 39%) of Israel’s settlements in the West Bank have been constructed on privately held Palestinian lands. Add to these inciting reports, the Israeli occupation, the daily killings of Palestinians, destruction of their trees and crops, interference in their daily life and construction of the separation wall that strangles the Palestinian economy, and then have Tony Blair, who should know all of these particulars, ask himself the questions:

Why would Hamas recognize a nation that already claims Hamas’ lands? Wouldn’t Hamas feel that recognition of Israel would be a concession that Israel’s polices towards the Palestinians have been correct? Why would Hamas legitimize Israel’s policies?

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has not said ‘Hamas will not recognize Israel’s right to exist.” He has said that his “Hamas-led government will never recognize Israel and will continue to fight for the liberation of Jerusalem.” The more exact quote creates a different prospect for negotiations than Blair’s outlook proposes:

1. Although a Hamas-led government will not recognize Israel, if negotiations successfully proceed, the Hamas government could eventually be replaced by a Palestinian government that recognizes an Israel which addresses the legitimate grievances and rights of the Palestinian people.
2. Hamas will not recognize a government of Israel (not Israel’s right to exist) that it believes is unfairly constituted. Hamas might recognize an Israel state it considers a legal expression of all of its population, including its Palestinian minority, and which recognizes its obligations to the Palestinian people.

Read it here.

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