Sid Shniad | 10 Jun 20:47 2012

What 'Israel's right to exist' means to Palestinians


Christian Science
February 2, 2007

What 'Israel's right to exist' means to Palestinians

By John V. Whitbeck


Since the Palestinian elections in 2006, Israel and much of the West have
asserted that the principal obstacle to any progress toward
Israeli-Palestinian peace is the refusal of Hamas to "recognize Israel," or
to "recognize Israel's existence," or to "recognize Israel's right to

These three verbal formulations have been used by Israel, the United
States, and the European Union as a rationale for collective punishment of
the Palestinian people. The phrases are also used by the media,
politicians, and even diplomats interchangeably, as though they mean the
same thing. They do not.

"Recognizing Israel" or any other state is a formal legal and diplomatic
act by one state with respect to another state. It is inappropriate –
indeed, nonsensical – to talk about a political party or movement extending
diplomatic recognition to a state. To talk of Hamas "recognizing Israel" is
simply to use sloppy, confusing, and deceptive shorthand for the real
demand being made of the Palestinians.
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