I am not an historian, decent author or a journalist, and the chances are that unless there is a link or reference to somewhere else, the perpetrator is yours truly – Renaud Sarda. I created this blog as a focal point, to arm people with arguments and facts that they can perhaps use to counter biased media reporting and anti-Israel propaganda, and to help counter (BDS) campaign. I am a Zionist/Sephardi/Jew who will fly the Israeli flag, and defend whatever Israel does.
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Friday, 13 June 2014
Palestinian envoy to UK summoned "for recognising Israel as a Jewish
The PLO's man in London has been recalled to give an explanation for an article that advocted recognising "the Jewish state of Israel"
The Palestinian ambassador to London has been summoned to Ramallah after apparently endorsing recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, a stance directly at odds with his government's official policy.
Palestinian officials reacted furiously after Manuel Hassassian co-authored an article in Fathom - a website and journal linked to Bicom, a UK-based pro-Israel lobby group - setting out the potential terms of a peace agreement with Israel.
Mr Hassassian, who has been the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's envoy to Britain since 2005, claims he never approved the article's publication and says it does not reflect his views.
Under a section headed "mutual recognition", it stated: "Israel shall recognise the State of Palestine. Palestine shall recognise the Jewish State of Israel."
The latter position flatly contradicts that of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority (PA) president, who resisted demands from Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to explicitly recognise Israel's Jewish identity during recent peace talks, which collapsed in April.
The article, co-authored with Professor Rafael Cohen-Almagor, an Israeli academic based at Hull University, prompted speculation that Mr Hassassian, 60, would be fired.
"Ramallah was very angry with this statement. This is not the position of the Palestinian Authority," said Amal Jadou, head of the PA foreign ministry's European desk. She said Mr Hassassian had been ordered to report to Ramallah, the West Bank's de facto capital, to give an explanation.
Contacted in London, Mr Hassassian, called the controversy a "terrible misunderstanding" and suggested he had been "tricked" over the article's publication. He said he was unaware of Fathom, which has lauded him as the first Palestinian ambassador to publicly advocate recognising Israel's Jewishness.
"I didn't read the final version and my friend, Professor Cohen-Almagor, has published it," he told The Telegraph. "He wrote the article and I made some input. He submitted it, not me. It feels like being tricked. I'm really upset.
"Recognising Israel as a Jewish state at this point is out of the question. Perhaps when there is a Palestinian state and there is an official end to the conflict, then it may be considered, but not at this stage."
Although the PLO recognised Israel more than two decades ago, Mr Abbas argues that accepting it as a specifically Jewish state would undermine the Palestinian negotiating posture while weakening the position of around 1.5 million Arabs who live there. Mr Netanyahu has called Palestinian unwillingness to accept Israel's Jewish character a fundamental reason for the continuation of the conflict.
Professor Cohen-Almagor said he was "distressed" that the article had landed Mr Hassassian in hot water. "I'm very sorry for him, he is a good friend of mine," he said. "I'm a peace activist and I thought this piece could push us forward. Now I understand that it has caused friction and I am very distressed by that."