Moshe Dann: The Two Essential Questions Regarding Palestinian Statehood





[The author, a former assistant professor of history, is a writer and journalist living in Jerusalem.]

When the PLO was founded in 1964, “liberation” included all of Israel. In 1974, the UN granted the PLO non-state diplomatic status; its mission was, and is, to “liberate Palestine.” All of it. That goal has not changed.

In 1988, when the Palestine National Council on behalf of the PLO — “the sole representative of the Palestinian people” — declared a state of Palestine, they referred to UN Resolution 181 (passed in 1947) which suggested a division of British Mandate Palestine. Arabs had refused to recognize Israel then, and still do.

Palestinian leaders say that they recognize the fact of Israel’s existence, but not its right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state; they reject not only the idea of Jewish nationalism but its historical, ideological, and legal basis. This is explicit in the PLO and Hamas charters and the “temporary Basic Law” of the Palestinian Authority, which affirms “the national and historical rights of the Palestinian people” according to the PLO....

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