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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Levy: What about recognition?

Recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people can't simply be left to the end of negotiations, unless the participants know it will be the deal-breaker. But since it will unlikely be the deal-breaker, it has to be dealt with up front. And the president of the United States should know this -- and advocate for unequivocal Palestinian recognition of Israel.

As put by the author of the op ed, below,  recognition is not a precondition for negotiations but a 'required element' for attaining a win-win end of the conflict.

 -- Mark Finkelstein,7340,L-3985354,00.html

What about recognition?

Op-ed: Without Palestinian recognition of Jewish state, what’s the point of negotiations?

Benny Levy   11/16/2010  [ excerpt]

The commotion around the extended settlement freeze diverts attention away from the additional price Israel is apparently required to pay for the benefit package promised to Netanyahu: Renouncing the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state before entering talks. The prime minister, who presented this demand a few weeks ago, has gone silent as of late; yet without such initial recognition, it’s unclear what will be discussed in the talks.


Starting with discussion on borders and security arrangements, as the Palestinians and Americans demand, is akin to conducting negotiations where the sides are discussing the price, number of installments, their date etc., without first agreeing whether they are selling or leasing the asset. If it’s a sale, the seller will no longer have any rights for the asset. In a lease, the lessee is expected to, and entitled to, demand the asset again in the future.


This is the point of introductory clauses in contracts. There, the sides present their joint interests, which come before the negotiations. For example, as side A is interested in offering an apartment for rent, and side B is interested in renting an apartment, the sides agree to…(and here come the contract clauses to be decided on during negotiations.)


The introduction to the “dream agreement” with the Palestinians should say that as the sides are interested in ending the conflict, and as they view the State of Israel as the Jewish people’s state, and the future state to be established as the Palestinian people’s state, they agree to the following (borders, security, Jerusalem, refugees, etc.) Yet the Palestinians say they will refuse to such introduction. Abbas and Erekat truly disparage such possibility, and Yasser Abed Rabbo, who seemingly presented a different position, has no authority anyway.