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Palestine: Kerry's credibility crashes as Abbas's intransigence increases

By David Singer - posted Tuesday, 1 April 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry has seen his reputation and prestige shredded to tatters over the past few weeks.

On 13 March Kerry told members of the House Foreign Relations committee that:

  • international law has already declared Israel a Jewish state, and
  • Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's insistence on a public declaration of Israel's Jewish character from the PLO was "a mistake" in the diplomatic process.

Kerry also told a Senate panel:

Jewish state' was resolved in 1947 in Resolution 181 where there are more than 40-30 mentions of 'Jewish state'. In addition, chairman Arafat in 1988 and again in 2004 confirmed that he agreed it would be a Jewish state. And there are any other number of mentions.

PLO Chairman and President of the State of Palestine - Mahmoud Abbas - was unimpressed with Kerry's knowledge of international law.

On 16 March the New York Times reported:

.. Mr. Abbas, speaking before a meeting in the Oval Office, made clear that he was no closer to uttering the words that are a litmus test for the Israelis: that he recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.

'Since 1988, we have recognized international legitimacy resolutions' on Israel, Mr. Abbas said as Mr. Obama looked on, a hand on his chin. 'And in 1993, we recognized the State of Israel.'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that the Palestinians go further and recognize Israel as a nation-state for the Jewish people in order to get a peace deal. Mr. Abbas has flatly refused, and his comments on Monday suggested he had gone as far as he would.


On 19 March Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at The City University of New York - Peter Beinart - provided this advice to Abbas:

I have a suggestion for Mahmoud Abbas. The next time Benjamin Netanyahu demands that you recognize Israel as a 'Jewish state,' tell him that you'll agree on one condition. The Israeli cabinet must first agree on what 'Jewish state' means. That should get you off the hook for a good long while.

Israel has never been able to define the term 'Jewish state'.

The good Professor was obviously unaware that the term "Jewish State" had been defined for the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in evidence given by David Ben-Gurion on 7 July 1947:

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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