Since the end of July, 2013, the US has attempted to broker what it calls a peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). For this peace, Israel wants to be recognized as the national home of the Jewish people.
The PA rejects that recognition. It demands a ‘peace’. But it claims that recognizing Israel as ‘Jewish’ would require it to rewrite its entire Arab narrative about ‘Palestine’. Therefore, recognizing Israel as ‘Jewish’ is out of the question.
If you want a state of your own, why should your neighbour’s self-identity matter to you? Your goal should be that state, not the neighbour’s self-identity.
Nobody asks this question. Nobody notices that Israel’s self-identity shouldn’t have any connection at all to Arab statehood desires.
Nobody confronts this Arab intransigence. Nobody asks the Arab for an explanation.Is everyone afraid to anger the Arab?
For a while, the US remained silent about this issue. The Arabs kept restating how they would not recognize Israel as Jewish—and the US continued to say nothing. Then, on February 21, 2014, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said something. He supported Israel’s demand for recognition (“US Framework to Demand that PA Recognize Israel as Jewish State”, Arutz Sheva).
Ambassador Shapiro was quoted as saying that the PA ‘will be obligated’ to give Israel that recognition (Arutz Sheva, ibid). The PA immediately rejected this requirement. But the US did not back down. Recognizing Israel as the Jewish state, Shapiro said, would be part of the ‘framework’ agreement the US was creating for the two ‘peace partners’ to sign.
That angered the PA. The PA became incensed. It repeated its demand: it would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state (“Abbas Repeats Rejection of Israel as a Jewish State”, Arutz Sheva, March 7, 2014).
Now, less than three weeks later, the US does a flip-flop. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki now says that the “United States believes there is no need for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as part of a peace agreement” (“U.S.: No Need for PA to Recognize Israel”, Arutz Sheva, March 9, 2014). Suddenly, the US endorses the PA’s anti-Israel position.
We have seen this anti-Israel flip-flop before. In August, 2013, as the current round of peace talks were just beginning, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that new building permits would be issued for new Jewish homes to be built over the green line. Israel briefed Kerry about this announcement. His response was clear: he had no objection to the new building because it did not affect areas destined to be given over to the PA for their new state.
The PA didn’t like Kerry’s silence over the new building permits. It got angry. It became incensed.
As a result of that anger, Kerry changed his tune. Suddenly, those new building permits weren’t okay.
Prompted by the PA anger, Kerry made the anti-Israel declaration that “settlements at any time, and not just during the peace process, were considered illegitimate by the United States” (“Kerry admits Netanyahu said he'd be building in places that don't affect 'peace map,' but lacks integrity to back Netanyahu”, Israel Matzav, August 14, 2013).
Flip-flop is not a strategy for a successful foreign policy. It’s a strategy for failure.
Would you buy a used car from someone who flip-flops? Would you sign a peace agreement from a broker who flip-flops against you?
Why would you sign a peace agreement with someone who refuses to accept your identity?
Why would Israel give to an enemy what belongs to the G-d of Israel?