Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat declared Monday that “No state in the world connects its national identity to a religious identity.” This ignores the fact that the Saudis are a theocracy of such sectarian dimension that tourists are forbidden from entering the country with Bibles, crucifixes, or items bearing the Star of David.
The bottom line is that if Palestinians want an actual state and not just the trappings, they are going to have to reconcile themselves to the idea of an overtly Jewish neighbor.
The world has shown its willingness to let Palestinians suffer indefinitely. The world has shown its impatience with the glorious victories of Palestine, whether that means Kassam rockets butchering six cows about to give birth in a dairy barn on a Negev kibbutz, or raising an army which spends much of its firepower on fellow Palestinians, as in the memorial rally which left as many as eight dead in Gaza.
What matters, in the end, is not whether the Palestinians choose to formally recognize Israel as a Jewish state. What matters is whether the Palestinians can live alongside a state which happens to be Jewish in character. Can they share the Holy Land with a state in which the dominant religion is not Islam?
Most Jewish Israelis, meanwhile, have come to accept the idea of an independent Palestinian state, in which the dominant religion will certainly be Islam.
If Palestinians cannot bring themselves to accept a Jewish Israel, there is always the default option. For Palestinians to choose not to accept a Jewish state is to choose statelessness.
Ma fish falstin.