The utter futility inherent in pursuing the two- state solution - the creation of a 22nd Arab State between Israel and Jordan - was brought home this week when the most powerful negotiating team ever assembled in history - the Quartet - was unable to come up with a jointly acceptable statement to persuade Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to resume direct negotiations.
The Quartet comprises America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.
The two day meeting of the Quartet in Washington was attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and Quartet special envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair.
The player out of tune was apparently Sergey Lavrov,
He reportedly prevented the Quartet from issuing a demand that the PA acknowledge Israel as the Jewish State as the basis for negotiations in exchange for Israel's acceptance of the 1949 Armistice lines. He also reportedly refused to refrain from raising the proposed PA statehood bid at the UN in September .
It is this kind of pussyfooting around that encourages the PA to maintain its rejectionist stance.
Israel is the Jewish State referred to in the United Nations1947 Partition Plan which provided:
Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in Part III of this Plan, shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in any case not later than 1 October 1948. The boundaries of the Arab State, the Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem shall be as described in Parts II and III below.
The Soviet Union voted in favor of this resolution. Russia has already seen more than one million Russian Jews or of Jewish origin emigrate from Russia to Israel in the 1980's and 1990's.
Why Mr Lavrov should be reluctant to acknowledge Israel as the Jewish State in these circumstances seems very curious indeed.
Certainly the PA has railed against making any such concession. This has been one of the major stumbling blocks to resolving the conflict that firstly the Oslo Accords and then the Quartet-sponsored Reagan Roadmap were designed to end.
PA resistance to acknowledge the existence of a Jewish State is writ large in the Charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization which contains the following racist and Jew-hating provisions:
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