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Friday, September 4, 2009

What the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is really about (8)

If it is to be successful, a Palestinian-Israeli permanent status agreement will end all claims that each national group has on the other. If it is indeed to end all claims, once and for all, it will have to address not just issues raised by the 1967 war, but issues left unaddressed from the 1948 war.

The first and foremost is recognition of what the relevant UN resolutions repeatedly called "the Jewish state." Without an unambiguous statement of recognition [of Israel as 'the Jewish state,"] it is difficult to imagine that any agreement will indeed have ended all claims.

It is not surprising that an Israeli government has made this demand a sine qua non of a permanent status agreement. What is surprising is that no Israeli government has made this a sine qua non until now.

The U.S. voted for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine 62 years ago. The U.S. should not be indifferent to Israel's request that endorsing its status as the Jewish state be enshrined in a permanent status agreement designed finally to end the conflict over Palestine, once and for all.

-- Robert Satloff, Executive Director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and member of MESH, Middle East Strategy at Harvard. Comments. August 30, 2009

Prior installments of this series are archived on the sidebar of