PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has wasted no time dismantling US Secretary of State John Kerry's proposed framework agreement with an intemperate outburst affirming the PLO will never recognise Israel as the Jewish State.
Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh quotes Abbas as stating on 11 January:
We won't recognize and accept the Jewishness of Israel. We have many excuses and reasons that prevent us from doing ...
Israel's problem is that the Palestinians know more than the Israelis about history and geography...We talk about what we know
Kerry had alluded to the daunting problems he faced producing his framework agreement as the basis for ongoing negotiations between Israel and the PLO at a joint press conference with chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat in Ramallah on 4 January.
There are narrative issues; difficult, complicated years of mistrust that have been built up, all of which has to be worked through and undone, and a pathway has to be laid down in which the parties can have confidence that they know what is happening and that the road ahead is real, not illusory.
The narrative issues raised by Abbas's latest comments underscore the two very different Jewish and Arab perspectives of their 130 years old conflict which appear certain to continue to remain irreconcilable.
These issues goes to the very heart of the conflict - and short of a complete retraction by Abbas - will continue to be the quicksand into which Kerry's framework agreement will collapse into political oblivion.
Abbas has clearly signalled the continuing refusal of the PLO to accept the unanimous decision of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922 legally sanctioning the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in its ancient and biblical homeland - as promulgated in the Mandate for Palestine.
The site for the Jewish National Home - originally intended to be established within 100% of the Mandate territory - was restricted to being created within just 22% of that area (now Israel and the West Bank) by virtue of the application of article 25 of the Palestine Mandate on 23 September 1922.
The "two state" solution now being pursued by Kerry had its actual genesis in this decision - when the remaining 78% of Palestine (now Jordan) was set aside for Arab self determination.
The League of Nations found no identifiable indigenous people then existing in Palestine - referring only to
- the " civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine"
- "safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion"
- "The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration... and shall encourage ... close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes."
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