They Say, We Say: "Is there any way to reconcile the Israeli and Palestinian positions on the recognition issue?"
We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.
You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.
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Is Peace Possible?
Is there any way to reconcile the Israeli and Palestinian positions on the recognition issue, or is this a case of irreconcilable differences and, potentially, an insurmountable obstacle to peace?
The demand for “recognition-plus” and its rejection go to the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They embody the shared desire of Israelis and Palestinians for self-determination in their own countries, and for acknowledgment of their core narratives. Recognizing what this argument is really about opens the door for Israelis and Palestinians to start grappling with the challenge of finding a recognition formula that addresses the needs, and respects the sensitivities, of both sides. Such a formula will require not just recognition of the fact of Israel’s existence, but some element of recognition of Israel as a home for the Jewish people in their historic homeland, alongside explicit recognition of the rights of non-Jewish citizens of Israel. On the flip side, such a formula will require not just grudging acceptance of a Palestinian state as the outcome of negotiations, but some element of recognition of the suffering and sacrifices that Israel’s creation and nearly 50 years of occupation have wrought on the Palestinian people.
Israeli and Palestinian leaders, negotiating in good faith to achieve a two-state solution, can certainly agree on a recognition formula – as was done by negotiators in the 2003 Geneva Initiative, which affirmed that the agreement marked, “the recognition of the right of the Jewish people to statehood and the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to statehood, without prejudice to the equal rights of the Parties' respective citizens.” Conversely, if Israel and Palestinian leaders don’t start dealing with this question seriously – respectful of the nuances and sensitivities involved for both sides – then the recognition question will haunt us all, and ensure that an agreement is likely never reached. .