In response to Netanyahu’s speech, the Palestinians have made Bibi’s point for him (i.e. we don’t have peace because the Palestinians reject the Jewish state) by rolling out the same rhetoric we have heard for sixty years:
Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Israeli leader’s speech “torpedoes all peace initiatives in the region”.
Another Abbas aide, Yasser Abed Rabbo, told the AFP news agency that recognition of Israel’s Jewish character was a demand for Palestinians “to become part of the global Zionist movement”.
The militant Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, said the speech reflected Mr Netanyahu’s “racist and extremist ideology”.
I suppose that counts for a “no” on whether they will recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state with secure borders. So can we move on? No, no the peace-processors will say. They didn’t mean it! This is just talk. They really, really deep down do want peace. What evidence is there for this? Hmmm. Perhaps we are not privy to the secret signals they have been sending out to convince us that they don’t mean what they say.
But back in the real world, it is a good time to take stock. Unless and until the Palestinians give up this all-too-familiar repudiation of the Jewish state there’s really nothing to talk about. Only the most deluded would think that telling bubbe she can’t have the extra bedroom in her East Jerusalem townhouse would make any difference.
You can see why Obama’s attempt to move the “peace process” forward with a distorted telling of history was so misguided. You can’t simply leave out the Zionism part. You can’t ignore the Palestinian rejectionism part. it suits the Palestinians just fine, but it’s no basis for progress and only reinforces the Palestinians’ worst instincts. And goodness knows they need little encouragement to say “no.”