Whether the Palestinians will recognize Israel as a Jewish State is a hot issue in the current negotiations, with Mahmoud Abbas, the Arab League and the Fatah Party saying not now, no way, never ever.

As I’ve noted before, historically there is no controversy that Israel is the Jewish State.  That’s what the U.N. General Assembly called it in the 1947 partition plan, what Harry Truman called it in recognizing Israel, and what Palestinian negotiatiors — including Yasser Arafat — called it in private.

Now a public statement to that effect from Arafat himself has surfaced via The Tablet:

One of the key points of contention in the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is whether the Palestinians will agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This Israeli claim, which originated on the Israeli left at the height of the Second Intifada and has been part of the negotiations ever since, has been a major sticking point for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has thus far categorically rejected it.

But newly-rediscovered footage of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat may upend his successor’s argument that Israel’s demand is an unprecedented one that no Palestinian leader could accept. In the video, apparently of a 1988 press conference in Sweden, Arafat clearly states–in English–that “the PNC [Palestinian National Council] had accepted two states, a Palestine state and Jewish state–between brackets ‘Israel.’” Watch it below:

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This is just another indication of how the Palestinians have hardened their position over the years, and since Obama-Kerry practically begged them to be flexible.

(Featured image: YairRosenberg / YouTube video)