Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu clarified his stance regarding Palestinian Authority recognition of Israel as a Jewish state during Sunday morning’s cabinet meeting.
Some of Netanyahu’s ministers have argued that Israel does not need the PA to recognize it as Jewish.
“Regarding the issue of the Jewish state that comes up from time to time, we are not looking for the Palestinians to ratify our identity, our heritage and our connection to this land – this is not the problem from our point-of-view,” Netanyahu told them.
“We are demanding from them that at the end of the negotiations, they will renounce all their claims, including national claims, and that they recognize the national rights of the Jewish people in the State of Israel, and [recognizing] Israel as our national state is an integral part of their recognition that there are no national demands and no national rights in the State of Israel,” he explained.
Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state – as PA Chairman Abbas expects Israel to recognize a new PA state as “Palestinian” – has also been linked to the PA’s demand for the “right of return.” Abbas has previously stated that he will not recognize Israel as Jewish because doing so would mean giving up the “right of return.”
The so-called right of return is the Arab demand that the descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel be allowed to “return” and reside in modern Israel. Such an influx of millions of Arabs would effectively put an end to Jewish self-determination in Israel, by turning the Jewish majority into a minority in its own country.
Regarding that issue, Netanyahu said, “We ascribe importance to the unity of Jerusalem and, of course, to the cancellation of the right of return.”
Netanyahu also shared his thoughts on the latest developments in Iran’s talks with western nations over its nuclear program.
"Iran is willing to give up on enriching uranium to 20% and therefore a discussion on this issue is unimportant. The importance of the issue became superfluous in the wake of the technological improvements that allow Iran to enrich uranium from 3.5% to 90% in a number of weeks,” he explained.
“Pressure on Iran should be increased because it is continuing enrichment even as it negotiates,” he said.