US: Peace deal will recognize Israel as “Jewish state”
The US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro asserted that the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal currently being negotiated by US Secretary of State of John Kerry will include recognition of Israel as “the nation state of the Jewish people”,The Times of Israel reported on Friday.
Citing an interview Shapiro conducted with Israel Radio on Friday morning, The Times of Israel quoted him as saying, “It’s too early to know what compromises and concessions both sides will make. But we do believe… that Israel deserves recognition as a Jewish state. That has always been US policy — that Israel is a Jewish state and should remain a Jewish state. That will be one of the elements of the framework we’re working on.”
“I assume that under the framework that we’re currently preparing, that we’ll see that recognition of Israel and a Jewish state, as the nation state of the Jewish people, will appear in the framework,” he added.
“And in the end, we’ll need to know that this is the end of the conflict, and that’s one way of verifying that… that everyone in the region and all of [Israel’s] neighbors will accept that there is a nation state of the Jewish people here, in the Jewish homeland.”
Shapiro’s comments come a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held more than two hours of “constructive” talks on Israeli-Palestinian peace on Thursday, their second session in as many days.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed on July 29 after a nearly three-year break. At the time, Kerry said, “Our objective will be to achieve a final status agreement over the course of the next nine months.”
As that deadline has approached, US officials appear to have scaled back their ambitions, saying they are trying to forge a “framework for negotiations” as a first step though they still hope to hammer out a full agreement by April 29.
Israel’s demand on recognition of its Jewishness is a recent addition to its list of final-status issues to be resolved with the Palestinians in a negotiated settlement, and the ultra right-wing government has rapidly forced it to the top of agenda, making it all but a precondition for entering talks.
Palestinians have refused to recognize of Israel as a “Jewish state” because it would ultimately signify the end of the right of return for Palestinian refugees who were ethnically cleansed by Zionist forces in 1948, as well as offer legitimacy to the discrimination of the remaining non-Jewish population within the 1948 borders.