The planned visit to the Middle East at the end of August by President Trump’s Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell, presents a wonderful opportunity for them to test the commitment of the PLO and its leader Mahmoud Abbas to concluding a peace treaty with Israel.
Abbas needs to confirm or reject his following remarks reported on 11 January 2014:
“Referring to Israeli demands to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Abbas said, “This is a story that we have heard only in the last two years. We won’t recognize and accept the Jewishness of Israel. We have many excuses and reasons that prevent us from doing so.”Abbas was speaking during a meeting in his office with dozens of east Jerusalem residents. Israel’s problem is that the Palestinians know more than the Israelis about history and geography, he said.
“We talk about what we know,” he said. “We won’t accept the Jewishness of Israel. We are asking for the 1967 borders.”Abbas and the PLO should be asked to amplify these remarks by written responses to the following questions:
1. On the Jewishness of Israel:
What excuses and reasons do you have for refusing to recognize and accept the Jewishness of Israel?
2. On the history of Palestine:
Do you accept the historical accuracy of the following statements in Israel’s Declaration of Independence?
“The land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and national identity was formed. Here they achieved independence and created a culture of national and universal significance. Here they wrote and gave the Bible to the world.
Exiled from Palestine, the Jewish people remained faithful to it in all the countries of their dispersion, never ceasing to pray and hope for their return and the restoration of their national freedom.”
3. On the geography of Palestine:
I. Do you still claim that:
“Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.”
II. Did the boundaries of Palestine during the British Mandate encompass what is known today as Israel, Jordan, Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza?
III. Did 78 per cent of the British Mandate territory become the sovereign independent Arab State called ”The Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan” in 1946?
4. On asking for the 1967 borders:
Are you aware that:
I. the “1967 borders” are in fact the “1949 Armistice Demarcation Lines” delineated under an agreement signed on 3 April 1949 between The Government of the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom and the Government of Israel (Armistice Agreement)
II. Article VI (9) of the Armistice Agreement provided:
life-time payments for murdering Jews – rebuffing Trump’s demand they cease.“The Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in articles V and VI of this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto”.
Trump has shown no compunction jettisoning poor performers like Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Anthony Scaramucci and Steve Bannon who failed to deliver.
Abbas and the PLO could suffer the same fate if they show no genuine commitment to resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict after 50 years of relentless rejectionism.