Okay — I’ll admit that I find it faintly comical that in 2011 it should still be considered both newsworthy and an indication of a substantive shift in diplomatic policy for a European senior government official to acknowledge that Israel is a Jewish state. Still, it would be churlish to deny that under prevailing bizarro-world circumstances, statements like that of Spain’s Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez before the United Nations General Assembly are important and necessary.
Jimenez noted — apparently for the first time — that Israel is the Jewish homeland, and said the Palestinian refugee problem needs to be solved in a way that does not compromise Israel’s character as a Jewish state. Haaretz expressed the hope that the announcement of Spain’s new position will encourage other countries to follow suit, particularly as Spain is widely viewed as pro-Palestinian.
Well, we’ll see. It is encouraging, though, to see even a single European statesperson claim openly that the assumption of a Palestinian right to their homeland implies a reciprocal Jewish right. I’d like to hope that this kind of thing might force Abbas to either explain his reconciliation with Hamas or break with them once and for all, but am not too optimistic on that score; he’s clearly been given a pass to run with whatever wolves he likes, and he has years of experience fine-tuning his talking points depending on the listener. Hamas, however, unlike Abbas and his cohort, can be counted on to stay on message: statehood, shmatehood. Palestine is all of Israel, not just a chunk of it. Game’s not over till they say it is. Stay tuned.