U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told members of Congress Thursday that Israel’s insistence that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state is a big mistake. Kerry maintained that recognition should not be a vital factor in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
“I think it’s a mistake for some people to be, you know, raising it again and again as the critical decider of their attitude towards the possibility of a state of peace, and we’ve obviously made that clear,” Kerry told members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Kerry believes that the question of a “Jewish state” was addressed in 1947 by UN Resolution 181. Resolution 181 officially granted recognition to the State of Israel. Kerry pointed out that there are “more than 30-40 mentions of a ‘Jewish state’” and that in 1988 and 2004, the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat “confirmed that he agreed it [Israel] would be a Jewish state.”
What Kerry failed to point out is that Arafat never granted official recognition to Israel as a Jewish state.
Kerry, who has been brokering a framework deal between Israel and the Palestinians, told lawmakers that both sides were still far away from reaching any sort of agreement.
“The level of mistrust is as large as any level of mistrust I’ve ever seen, on both sides,” he said.
Leaders of the Palestinian Authority have repeatedly stated that they would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state.