"Yasser Arafat recognized Israel's right to exist in 1988. He shook hands with Yitzhak Rabin and signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. The PLO later ostensibly amended its covenant, as Bill Clinton visited Gaza, to eliminate calls for Israel's destruction. Most recently, the Palestinians approved the road map, which again was based upon recognition of Israel's right to exist.
"So the Palestinians accept Israel's existence, right? Well, perhaps not. Now, on the eve of Annapolis, we discover that all of these claims of recognition may have been a giant sham."
The editorial refers to the statements of chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and others that the Palestinians will not recognise Israel as a Jewish state.
"The Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state suggests that all their solemn and myriad expressions of Israel's right to exist did not mean anything. They did not mean that the Palestinians accepted the Jews as a people (as Palestinians expect to be accepted), or that Israel is the legitimate expression of the Jewish people's right to self-determination."
The so-called Palestinian "moderates" are therefore "not espousing a two-state solution but a 'Greater Palestine' ideology."
"There is no way for Israelis to understand the refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state other than as a rejection of the two-state solution and the embrace of the 'strategy of stages,' whereby a Palestinian state is not an end of claims against Israel, but a down-payment toward Israel's destruction."
The "recognition sham" has prompted the Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby to follow up the question "Is Israel a Jewish State?" with this enquiry -
"If the more than 55 countries that make up the Organization of the Islamic Conference are entitled to recognition as Muslim states, and if the 22 members of the Arab League are universally accepted as Arab states, why should anyone balk at acknowledging Israel as the world's lone Jewish state?"
Jacoby concludes that the "refusal of the Palestinian Authority to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate Jewish state isn't a denial of reality; it is a sign of their determination to change that reality. Like Arab leaders going back a century, they seek not to live in peace with the Jewish state, but in place of the Jewish state. Olmert can show up at Annapolis bearing Palestinian sovereignty on a silver platter, with half of Jerusalem thrown in for good measure. He will not walk away with peace. On the contrary: He will intensify the Arab determination to replace the world's one Jewish state with its 23rd Arab state."
And therein lies the principal sham of the past century of relations between the Jews and the Arabs of the region but it is not the only one. Many others, some of them quite sophisticated and others very simple, have been foisted on the general public by the Palestinians in recent years. Their number has increased exponentially since Arafat (who also shammed his own people by stealing $3 billion from them while he was alive) launched the so-called "second intifada" on Israel in late September 2000.
The most famous of these recent shams has been the Muhammad al-Durrah affair whose final scenes are now perhaps being played out in a French courtroom. Honest Reporting has a full coverage of the events here and here while Melanie Phillips provides a brilliant commentary outlining the consequences of the filming of this incident in Gaza by public television broadcaster France 2’s Palestinian cameraman Talal Abu Rahma and the effects of the commentary by the network’s Jerusalem bureau chief Charles Enderlin, (who was not on the scene but reporting from an office) who attributed the shots that allegedly killed the youngster to Israel.
Enderlin and France2 subsequently sued writer Philippe Karsenty for suggesting their original broadcast was fraudulent and despite the public prosecutor’s recommendation that the lower court rule in Karsenty's favour, the judges argued that his allegations could not be regarded as credible because "no Israeli authority ... have ever accorded the slightest credit" to them. This astonishing conclusion is totally preposterous and Karsteny has rightly appealed the case. According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israelis were silent on the matter because they felt at the time that it was “a losing proposition" to reopen the al-Durrah case, because they would be "accused of blaming the victim." In any event, the deputy commander of the IDF Spokesman's Office has subsequently written to France 2 asking for the unedited footage. Am-Shalom stressed that the IDF had 'ruled out' the notion that al-Dura was killed by Israeli fire.
Yesterday Enderlin and France2 responded to the court's order requiring the film taken by Abu Rahma to be shown. Enderlin produced 18 minutes of film although it was anticipated that 27 minutes would be shown. According to Enderlin the nine "missing" minutes were never filmed although that proposition will no doubt be hotly disputed if these commentaries from Richard Landes (who has previously seen the film) and from The Augean Stables is a guide.
As Melanie Phillips points out, The ‘killing’ of Mohammed al Durah was swallowed uncritically by the western media, despite the manifold unlikeliness and contradictions which were apparent from the start, because it accorded with the murderous prejudice against Israel which is the prism through which the Middle East conflict is habitually refracted." In other words, segments of the media have conspired with the Palestinians to undermine not only its position in the conflict but its very existence.
The shams outlined above stunningly demonstrate how certain myths can be manufactured for use in propaganda against Jews in much the same way that Joseph Goebells took the creation of blood libels to the level of art form in the 1930's and 1940's. They prove that the stumbling block to peace in the Middle East is not Israel's occupation of Palestinian land, nor its treatment of the Palestinians, the checkpoints or the security barrier which serve to protect its citizens from deadly terrorists. Nor is the problem the strength of the so-called Jewish lobby because if that were true then today's newspapers would be full of stories from the Al Dura case in France whereas there is not a single word about it in any of today's daily newspapers available in my city of Melbourne. The key is, as Jacoby states -
"It is to compel the Arab world to abandon its dream of liquidating Israel."