The Palestinian Authority appears to be opening a new battle to define the terms of its conflict with Israel. The PA-based paper Maan has begun calling Arab citizens of Israel “Palestinian,” going so far as to call a majority-Arab Knesset faction a “Palestinian party.”
Maan opened the article by stating that “several Palestinian citizens of Israel were arrested,” and went on to refer to Umm El-Fahm as the city “which contains the largest Palestinian community inside Israel” and to the communist Hadash party as “the Palestinian Hadash party.”
PA leaders have consistently refused to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, saying the definition of Israel as “Jewish” would be unfair to Israeli Arabs.
While they insist that Arab citizens of Israel must retain full equality – and must not be bound by the definition of Israel as Jewish – PA leaders have stated that the state they plan to build in Judea and Samaria will be Arab and Muslim, and that the more than 300,000 Jews currently living there will be forced to leave.
“I will never allow a single Israel to live among us on Palestinian land,” Abbas declared earlier this year.
PA references to Arab citizens of Israel as “Palestinians” or “1948 Palestinians” go hand-in-hand with media messages teaching the public that all of Israel is part of a rightfully Arab country named Palestine. Earlier this week PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas publicly demonstrated a stone model of the map of “Palestine” that included the entire state of Israel along with Gaza, Judea and Samaria.
David Ha'ivri, whose Shomron Liaison Office deals with international media and monitors PA news sites said: "The Arabs of Israel can't seem to make up their mind about the most basic question: What is their identity? Are they part of the Arab nation, Israeli citizens or Palestinians? Their propaganda regularly contradicts their own messages from the day before. If as this article states, the Palestinians have democraticly elected representation in the Israeli Knesset then obviously their outrageous claims of racist discrimination and apartheid are baseless".