This article argues that the discourse of “Jewishness” was refashioned after the Oslo agreement and intensified by the government of Binyamin Netanyahu to serve as a major pillar for the demand of recognition. The Netanyahu government has its own hidden geopolitical agenda and significantly disadvantages the Palestinian side in their quest for a state of their own. It also blocks any genuine possibility of a two-state solution to the conflict. Significantly, from the territorial perspective, asking the Palestinians to recognize Israel's pre–June 1967 borders as a “Jewish” state means relinquishing a total of 77 % of the historical homeland of Palestine, in a kind of self-exit from this portion of the country, and, in effect, handing this land over to the Israeli political class to dominate the territory. Self-exit from this portion of Palestine also means that the “Palestinian right of return,” grounded in relevant UN resolutions and international law, would be abrogated, nullified by the Palestinians themselves, with all the associated implications for Palestinian refugees in the region and throughout the world. Moreover, in any such “resolution of the conflict by historic compromise,” the future of the Palestinian citizens of Israel, who currently make up about 23 % of the population, becomes highly uncertain, including the lands they inhabit inside the “Jewish” Israeli state. Since these Palestinian citizens are already viewed as a threat to Israel's majoritarian Jewishness on demographic grounds, because of their natural growth—the simple growth of an indigenous population increasing from year to year—the possibility of radical transfer of this segment of Palestinians cannot be ruled out in the future. Israel would justify this by saying that the Palestinians themselves have recognized Israel as a majoritarian “Jewish state”—and, by implication, there cannot be any significant minority in a Jewish state.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.