Monday, February 24, 2014

Netherlands: Op-ed rejects Israel as Jewish state

In January, a similar article in a German newspaper caused an uproar in the local Jewish community.

Willem Aldershoff, adviser on EU-policy Israel/Palestine and Michel Waelbroeck, scholar of European law write in Dutch newspaper Trouw about the Israeli demand to be recognized as a Jewish state.  The article is headlined: "Israel should be more than the land of the Jews".

The short-short summary: Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is a ridiculous demand in international law, even some Israeli politicians think it's unnecessary, it wouldn't add anything to a final peace agreement, it will be the first step in making the Palestinian citizens of Israel second-class citizens (e.g. the Jews will rename the Palestinian villages in Hebrew), the PA already recognized Israel, Israel does not intend to recognize Palestine.

There might be more.

And then we come to the final paragraphs (my translation):
UN Resolutions 194 (1948) and 237 (1967) leave no doubt as to the right of return of the Palestinians.  It also shouldn't be forgotten that the Palestinians have an ancient and direct connection with the  area of former Palestine.  They've lived there from time immemorial and formed the vast majority of the population.  Jews have lived there too, but the mass Jewish immigration to Palestine is relatively recent, in 1893, 6% of the population were Jewish, in 1946, 33%. 
For the Palestinians, recognizing Israel as a 'nation-state of the Jewish people' would be tantamount to being forced to deny their national history.  What people in the world could swallow such a condition, one that so strongly agitates the national soul?
There is a difference between discussing whether the demand is necessary, and denying Jews the right to their own homeland.

Aldershoff and Waelbroeck have no problems demanding the same from Jews.  Jews were just a minority.  No discussion of why.   By 1893, Jews were a majority in what the media love to call "Arab East Jerusalem".  But that, of course, does not give them the right to deny the Palestinians their connection to their most holy of cities.  Nobody denies the connection of Jews to Europe, even though they were expelled over and over again.  But when it comes to Israel, the Jews have lost their right to the land, despite their attempts over and over and over again, throughout the centuries, to return to their homeland.

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