Peace is no kiss, Israeli aide says

July 8, 2009

A top adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used an odd turn of phrase to explain what some see as a puzzling demand put to Palestinians by the right-wing leader as a condition for any any Israeli agreement to establishing a state in the occupied West Bank.

Netanyahu wants Palestinians to recognise Israel explicitly as a Jewish state, in addition to their having recognised Israeli sovereignty as part of an interim peace deal in 1993. He feels this would symbolise an historic end of conflict, his aides have explained.

At a briefing summing up Netanyahu’s first 100 days in office, advisor Uzi Arad and several other officials rejected criticism from centrist Kadima party leaders who accused the Israeli leader of achieving little on the diplomatic front since his government was sworn in late in March.

Netanyahu had clearly laid out the terms for any future peace deal, they said.  Arad emphasised what he saw as the importance of seeking further Palestinian acceptance of Israel’s existence, before Israel would agree to Palestinians achieving statehood in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war.

“Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, which they have so far refused to do, is not a matter of a kiss on the forehead, but a declaration of intent,” Arad said.

“If they don’t do it, they will have a serious problem, something everyone understands,” Arad added, alluding to what would be Israel’s refusal to reach the two-state deal the United  States and Europe have been seeking, unless the condition were met.

Palestinians dismiss Netanyahu’s condition as inconsistent with international law and say it isn’t up to any nation to define the nationality of another.

Another official in Netanyahu’s office said he doubted the Palestinians would ever accept the demand, averring, “because they’re not interested in making peace.”

“If you think that someone stole your house, then you’re never going to make peace,” the official said.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are stalled anyway over the issue of Jewish settlement building in the West Bank. Palestinians insist on a building freeze before any return to the negotiating table, while Netanyahu is negotiating with Washington for a partial continuation of the construction.

To read more blogs from Israel and the Palestinian territories, check out AxisMundi Jerusalem.


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Let us see whether our antisemitic muslim president will try to coerce the Israelis to give up more land to those whose avowed purpose is the destroy Israel.

Posted by Charles Newman | Report as abusive

The banter back and forth between the Israelis and Palestinians get either side nowhere. Why would the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state? Should Israel recognize Palestine as an arab state?

The ultimate question which is constantly ignored is when will the Palestinians have a true representative to negotiate for all Palestinians. Finally, while both side suffer from the status quo… the Israelis standard of living and day to day life is much more open and free. I pray that one day a real leader to the Palestinian people comes foward and makes peace. Until then the status quo continues…unfortunate for Israel and tragic for the Palestinians.

Posted by Ari | Report as abusive

Israel did “steal their house” so yes, the Palestinians have every right to be angry and resist any more land and resource theft.

Adding this new condition, bowing down to a “Jewish” state is a non-starter for everyone who knows that Israel has been recognized since 1993. No further recognition is require nor desirable. Read Bradley Burston latest column on Haaretz on the topic for further enlightenment.

And to Charles Newman, you do Israel a disservice by making a scandalous slur against the American President; there is absolutely no evidence that President Obama is antisemetic.

It’s a false claim made by someone with a small mind. The US President is not a Muslim, not that there’s anything wrong with that, all you have really done is shown your ignorance, bias, and prejudice.

Most importantly Charles, Israel is stealing Palestinian land, not the other way around as you falsely proclaim.

Israel cannot “give up” land to the Palestinians, when they are forced to finally comply with the rule of law they will be *giving back* the land and resources that they have stolen while you were not looking.

I hope that clears the facts up for you Charles.

Posted by bbsnews | Report as abusive

God gave this part of the world to the Jews, thus there is no “taking” of land from the Palestinians. Whatever they are, they are not a people, but a collection of families and tribes. Their problem is that they want to keep to the desert civilization, while the world is in the 21st century.

Posted by Yussuf Karra | Report as abusive

@ Yussuf: Claiming god gave something as a reason is hardly a solid argument… Besides, who’s god? Is it a real surprise to anyone that the god of the Jews would give something to the Jews rather then the Muslims or anyone else. Same goes for any other god for that matter. What about atheists? they don’t get anything?

The thing is we such real world issues need to be solved by real world laws. (i.e. the laws of man, not the gods) That was one of the crucial realisations of the Enlightenment in Europe for example. The separation of church and state. Relying on any particular religion as a justification for real world laws and governance will ALWAYS lead to problems because there is no universal accepted religion. Besides religion is by definition founded in belief not necessarily logic and experience. If one lacks the founding beliefs one has no reason to follow the resulting rules. That’s why christians can eat pork and jews don’t celebrate christmas.

Posted by theObserver | Report as abusive

Israel became a state in 1948 Yussuf. There is no god involved. There are no land deeds handed out by an invisible skydaddy otherwise I could invoke my Cherokee ancestors and kick out all the white Europeans who “settled” the United States.

Israel should be content that it was given as much land as it got. Taking even more land from the indigenous people, the Palestinians, is morally wrong and illegal.

Posted by bbsnews | Report as abusive

We’ve got to start somewhere don’t we, and a kiss can be a token of love, if not given to you by a mobster. It depends whether this kiss is a warm expression of genuine commitment between two people wanting to know one another, or a cold one exchanged by two people only looking for a quickie without any commitments.

Posted by Nikkei 225 | Report as abusive

Behold the people of former Palestine.

A people who failed to understand the virtue of living with one’s neighbour. Who attempted to bring force against Israel on multiple occasions, and yet were puzzled when this hostility was revisited on them tenfold.

For sixty years they have been sustained by hate. More then any other nation they have been given the opportunity to give their hate up and live in peace with Israel. And time after time, they have stood with their hate and rejected peace.

And every time they took the path of hate, they lost more lives and land. Like gamblers who lose their money to dice, they keep playing, refusing to believe they have lost what they once had. And each time they stuck to hate, and lost even more.

And now they have almost nothing. Nothing except their hate, which has seemingly become a part of their very national identity. Yet even now they entertain dreams that they will somehow regain what they have long since gambled away and lost.

While the Israelis sit calmly on the other side of their fence, and wonder if their neighbours will ever decide to join the civilised community of nations.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive

Why should Palestinians proclaim Israel as a “Jewish state” rather than a legitimate state. In other words, a state of ALL its citizens. Israel itself would be a better society if it came to terms with this undeniable reality.
And as others have said, there should be no room on this site for slander or hate speech such as that of Charles Newman.

Posted by Ranen | Report as abusive

Israel has benefitted thus far from an International favoritism unmatched historically due uniquely to the history of the jewish people much as one tolerates certain behavior of a child due to his troubled past. Simalarly it has come to believe itself exempt from scrutiny and consequence. The only path to peace is to first bring them under the umbrella of international law and rulings re-establishing an equal footing to all nations setting the stage for discussions between equals. Without this the Palestinian nation has no other recourse but force which has proven successful in nation building historically. The demand that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state is precedent setting, never before has a nation been recognized religiously, and entails the recognition of religious belief rights with which we are all familiar. Recognition of this nture for Israel requires the same for its neighbors and offers no resolution.

Posted by Norm | Report as abusive

God gave this land to Israel???? Why didn’t you just say that??? I will alert the media.
Maybe aide is referring to the Judas kiss that betrayed Jesus. The policies are always not what they seem on the surface. It’s theater perpatrated evey day in the media.

Posted by Donna | Report as abusive


You might think you are clever, yet you are factually wrong.

Israel cannot steal land that does not belong to it. You see Haha, after WWII, after another state tried to over-run other peoples and steal their land the family of nations said NEVER AGAIN.

The principle of “territory acquired by force of war is inadmissible was born.

You should learn about that principle. It is the only thing that would protect Israel itself if it was over-run by another country, be careful what you wish for.

If you were correct, the Arab states could simply band together and over-run Israel, but because of the principle I’ve explained above, they would not get to keep “the spoils of war” – wrong century, Haha.

Posted by bbsnews | Report as abusive

Please don’t take what I’m about to say as antisemetic, but rather directed toward the arrogance of a people…..Isreali Jews need to get over themselves. Is the United States to officially recognize Isreal as a Jewish State? We have unfortunately already caused this problem as far as can be seen….the U.S. has never held Isreal to the standards that we might some other government. Personally, I would like to see a U.S. led force on the Palestinian side of the ‘line in the sand’ daring Isreal to cross it. We shut out other countries and sanction until we can’t cut anymore…yet we allow Isreal to do as it pleases. This is the travesty of it all, no one, not one country outside the Arab world has bothered to even proclaim that there is a bully on the playground that needs to be delt with, not harshly, but without quarter……

Posted by Micah Smith | Report as abusive

You bring up a good point Micah. It is a mystery as to why Israel can ignore UN resolutions and international law for decades, terrorize an indigenous people for those same decades, steal their land and resources, illegally move 300,000 of their own citizens onto land they will never own, and no Western country takes it seriously enough to stop it like they have done with nearly every other Arab state in the region.

It certainly is a valid question. How do they get away with it? Could it be that US veto every time the world community would like to highlight just how rogue Israel has gone?

Posted by bbsnews | Report as abusive

yussaf, that is ridiculus.. and shows how racist israelis are becoming. Palistinans are much more established and united than israelis who are just a collection of immigrants who have only been living in that area for some 50 years. And to say god dictates who certain land belongs to is disturbing in the “21st Century” and fanatically religious. You make yourselves look truely dangerous.

Israel has yet again sabotaged the peace process with IMPOSSIBLE demands, that are designed specifically to be impossible because ISRAEL is the only one of the two sides who benefits from war. They gain more and more land every day and the palistinians lose more every day.

Lets not forget why the war started, because Israelis believe that they are the chosen people and their god has promised them the land of the palistinians.
A fanatical religious movement that has no place in the modern arena and should be ridiculed by all.

Unfortunately they are being protected by powers that do not want arabic stability in the middle east. Every single war in modern history in the region has been caused by the US or Israel.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Israel has always been more interested in flogging myths than making peace with the Palestinians. And the fact that Netanyahu is already calling Emanual and Axelrod ’self-hating Jews’ shows how paranoid and unstable he’s become:

Amira Hass – Israel Knows that Peace Just Doesn’t Pay 656.html

Posted by Hasbaranator | Report as abusive

Facts are facts and I think that if all were to do their homework about Israel many would be utterly surprised.
Fact 1: It has been historically proven that Jews have had a continual population presence in the land of Isreal since they entered the land when they crossed the Jordan in the time of Joshua (approximately 1400 BCE.)At this crossing they numbered well over 1,000,000. At this time there were many different tribes present in the land, some fighting with each other but none of which the Palestinians of today claim relations.
The Jewish presence in Israel continued even after they were conquered by the Babylonians and by the Romans (who by the way created the name Palestine.) Even though many Jews were taken away as slaves by each conquerer, there always remained some populace in small groups.
The Ottoman Empire allowed the Jews a part of Jerusalem and also allowed them to live in some villages scattered throughout Israel.
Fact 2: In 1878 Jews that lived outside of Israel started purchasing land in Israel. At exorbitant prices, barren desert and malarial swamps were purchased from absentee Moslem landowners. The Ottoman Empire didn’t particularly want this land since it was unproductive agriculturally and very sparsely populated with none to pay taxes to increase the Sultan’s treasury.
After WW1 when the Ottoman Empire was split up the League of Nations (a precursor to the United Nations) gave Great Britain the mandate to prepare Israel as a national home for the Jewish people. This mandate included all of what is now Israel and Jordan combined. At that time there was no king of Jordan. Jordan in essence was created by Great Britain who cut off more than half the land that had been designated for the Jews. Britain also appointed the king who was the start of present Jordanian monarchy of today.
Summary: Jews have been present in Israel for well over 3,000 years. They have legally purchased and repurchased land that they have cultivated and have reclaimed from the desert condition in which they purchased it. They were given this land by the League of Nations after WW1 with the desolution of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore they do have a legal right to this land. The land that Israel won during its wars is legally theirs. It would be the height of ignorance to expect nations to give back land won by this means since the US and Russia would be the first guilty parties not to comply. This would imply their own double standard in not giving up territory they won after WW2.
There are many more facts on this subject which can be had by some investigation of the legal documentation. Avoid the fanatic, biased opinions, and extremist comments and you will find the truth.

Posted by Dragos | Report as abusive

bbsnews, I am afraid you are the one who is factually wrong about a great many things.

You are only partially correct when you say “territory acquired by force of war is inadmissible”.

This shows you only have a basic knowledge of international law, and have not actually studied the subject in detail.

Permit me to correct you. According to international law:

“Territory acquired as a result of war remains under the control of the occupying power, until the ownership of that land is determined in a relevent peace treaty”.

Which means that Israel has the control of that land and retains control until the Palestinians choose to negotiate peace, or Israel decides to withdraw. Until then, Israel’s posession remains legal.

So as a matter of law, Israel has not ‘stolen’ any land.

The land which is currently Israel was gained due to the results of a civil war and a UN partition plan.

Whereas Palestine does not formally exist and is not recognised by the UN as a nation. And before Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, these regions were actually held by Jordan and Egypt.

But I am not telling you anything you don’t already know, assuming you know your history.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive


You are too funny. Those 300,000 illegal squatters prove me correct. Israel is illegally occupying the West Bank and Gaza.

You can make wild claims all day long but that won’t change the facts and reality. Perhaps you should go over and make an appointment with Ban Ki Moon and explain it to him rather than waste your time on little ol’ me.

Ban has spent the last several weeks telling a stream of Israeli ministers that each and every bit of the illegal occupations are well, errrr, illegal, Haha.

So be on your merry way and do let us know how that turns out for ya…


P.S. Anonymous posters who do not have the courage to attack their real name to their comments do not impress me. Haha.

Posted by bbsnews | Report as abusive

With the settlements, the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians what the Americans did to the native Americans, a creeping displacement meant to push them into surrounding Arab lands. Meanwhile, the Palestinians are giving the Israelis every incentive to do this by refusing to acknowledge the right of Israel to exist. I think both sides have legitimate claims, but both sides are intransigent, and so deserve no peace. It’s another sad case of the perfect being the enemy of the good.

Posted by Benjamin Franklin | Report as abusive


You are only partially correct. The Palestinians have recognized Israel since 1993. Former President Bill Clinton traveled to Gaza and watched the PLC nearly unanimously ratify that recognition.

I do hope you will stop spreading the false information that the Palestinians have not recognized Israel, because clearly they already have.

Posted by bbsnews | Report as abusive

Dragos, who cares?? What is the relevance of there having been jews in and around jerusalem for a long time? You seem to have set up a massive premise with no point to it, no conclusion..

When you say Israel “Won” territory, is that being sincere or cynical? You dont ‘win’ territory in war, you steal it.. Like Hong Kong in the Opium Wars, or the Rhineland in Germany WWI, this can end badly.

The fact remains, if youre living in the past where there is still no concept of democracy then you can justify the existence of Israel on the grounds of religious right, imperialism and the spoils of war.
But today these reasons are unjust and immoral.
Today if you win a war you cant chop up a country and give it to someone else, and certainly not on a fanatical ancient religious claim by a group of people that see themselves as on a higher level than other human beings as the chosen ones. Its Insane! And should be the focus of what the problem is.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Thank you, bbcnews. Your post completely failed to contest my post on any better level then “you are wrong, and others agree with me, so there”. Very amusing and predictable.

So I might as well try to broaden your mind with the other perspectives, even if I doubt you will bother to consider a second point of view.

1. The current UN resolutions on the illegality of Israeli settlements are not legally binding, as those resolutions were made under Chapter 6 of the UN charter.

2. As the Palestinian territories are not part of any recognised sovereign nation, the Articles of the Geneva Convention relating to the occupation of sovereign land can be argued not to apply.

3. The rulings of the international court were highly political, and at any rate were non-binding advisory opinions.

4. At any rate, the settlements are not of sufficient size to be said to displace the Palestinian people from their territory, or to be considered ‘forced transfers’.

5. The UN knows that it needs to pander to the Arab states to keep them cooperative, and does not need to worry about upsetting Israel with it’s decisions.

6. And even if you reject all of these arguments, and the settlements are illegal, the truth remains that under international law occupied land remains under the control and management of the occupying party until a peace treaty is made.

Of course, the UN is completely aware of all this. Yet another reason why the entire organisation is akin to a political joke.

P.S Thanks to the beauty of cyberspace, anyone can pretend to be anyone. Including you. So your postscript comment, while it was intended to sound dismissive and tough, is funny too. Haha.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive

“Today if you win a war you cant chop up a country and give it to someone else”

I wish that were true.

But what happened to Germany, Korea, Vietnam, Palestine, Pakistan, Somalia, Cypras, Yugoslavia, Georgia and Tamil Eelam proves otherwise.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive


Apparently you have a serious problem with reading comprehension.

The “settlements” are illegal. Kofi Annan, Ban Ki Moon, and nearly every government on the planet has held this to be true since 1967.

So take your lttle fantasy to New York City, march into the UN and explain to them how wrong they are and stop on back here and let us know what you find out.

Isn’t this fun? Here you spread anonymous false information and I correct you with the facts.

Now be off to NYC, and don’t get too depressed when they laugh you right out of the UN as a wingnut…

Posted by bbsnews | Report as abusive

Not as fun as trying to argue with a person who doesn’t seem to be listening.

You didn’t bother even bother to read my post. Didn’t attempt to rebut it in a meaningful manner. Didn’t try to justify your point of view in any way.

Yet you believe you have somehow ‘corrected me with the facts’. And also accuse *me* of having a comprehension problem. Haha.

Perhaps in your pink pony castle fantasy world, the Secretery General and governments can wave their hands and issue decrees like they mean something.

But until the UN or the IC make a legally binding resolution, their political statements have no legal weight.

And all the “I’m clueless about international law but I still know I’m correct because I read left-wing blogs which spout opinion as fact and completely isolate myself from other viewpoints” wishful thinking is not going to change the reality of UN politics.

As your post is no more anonymous then mine, your comments concerning anonymous comments makes no sense. But then, little did.

Adios. Time to find a left winger who actually knows how to back up their arguments.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive


1. They arnt legally binding because the US Veto’s all binding resolutions against Israel thus making binding resolutions useless.

2. Geneva conventions apply to people, and palistinian land is well understood to be palistinian land, in any court.

3. If the UN or criminal court had any authority you would know that the US is the only country formally to be charged with terrorism in Nicaragua and ordered to recognize the decision of the court by the UN. Binding resolutions only work on very weak countries that cant just ignore the UN.

4. Size is irrelevant, as the authorities bulldozing palistinian homes on palistinian land dont have any jurisdiction to do so.

5. The UN knows that it is fighting the most powerful country in the world in trying to find justice for the palistinians, the US, who have used their veto power more times for Israel than any other veto in UN history combined.

6. What an absolute load of BS!! There is no rule that says land seized from your neighbor by bulldozing and rebuilding should remain under your control. Youre a joke buddy, I dont know where you pulled that from but learn how to read a document.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive


Germany and Korea and Pakistan were both over 50 years ago in an age of imperialism.. and still were not handed to another race of people.. Palistine is the subject of MY conversation, Vietnam was not chopped up and given to anyone.. In fact please explain how any one of the countries in your list have been divided as the spoils of war since pre-50’s imperialism?? Tamil? Are you talking about the separitist tamil movement? I really think you’re missing the point.

I repeat: Today if you win a war you cant chop up a country and give it to someone else.
You don’t have to wish it were true, it is true..

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

You have admitted that there is no legally binding UN resolution, or legally binding IC ruling.

And the fact remains that there is no UN nation currently recognised as Palestine. Only occupied regions which are recognised to be West Bank and Gaza.

Which means that when you make bold claims such as “palistinian land is well understood to be palistinian land, in any court”, that is not entirely the truth.

And when you boldly claim the settlements are illegal, there is no actual binding IC ruling or UN resolution which says so. Oh dear.

Perhaps you should also consider whether Article 49 of the Convention truly applies. After all, it is supposed to be dealing with “forced transfers” of people.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive


Pakistan lost Bangladesh in a war. Several other border regions are issues as well, I believe.

Vietnam was formerly two countries. Soviet funded tanks and troops rolled into Saigon, you will recall. And all of South Vietnam became part of North Vietnam. The south had very little say in the matter, and those who did were ‘re-educated’.

Cypras was invaded by Turkey, who refused to recognise a greek friendly coup. The island was cut in half and remains so to this day.

The Israel-Arab conflict has used land as musical chairs. Israel became independent and recognised by the UN. Egypt seized Gaza. Jorden seized the West Bank. Israel seized both, and the Golan hights. The Sini region has exchanged hands twice. Now Gaza has been released, but remains officially occupied.

Yugoslavia slowly fell apart as a result of war. Thanks to the NATO bombing campaign, the country is now split into several independent regions severed from the parent nation.

Georgia remains a single nation recognised by the UN. Yet as a result of war, two regions are now occupied by russian military forces. These two regions are not recognised as independent except by a small handful of (russian aligned) nations. But the truth of the matter is those regions are independent regardless of Georgia’s wishes, and Russian force is the only reason why it is so.

Tamil Eelam was the region the LTTE wanted for their own nation. Now that region is once again under the control of Sri Lanka. The LTTE claims that no act of war can take their land from them. Sri Lanka claims exactly the same thing. But only one was able to win the civil war.

So as you can see, the indivisibility of land, while a core part of international law, rarely equates with reality on the ground. And the UN has little say in what actually happens.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

“Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, which they have so far refused to do, is not a matter of a kiss on the forehead, but a declaration of intent,”

Arad knows very well that for the Palestinians to accept Israel in its present form is a declaration of suicide. And like the rest of the Netanyahu’s cabinet, he’s using this tactic to deflect growing international criticism of Israel’s ‘settlements’ (a neutral term designed to mask their racist character)

In a recent interview with Haaretz, Arad made it clear that he would prefer to focus his ‘brute energies’ on the ‘goyim’ rather than see Israel facing off the settlers. Arad may be many things, but a closet racist isn’t one of them. He sees no problem in openly identifying with the cultural genocide the settlers and the IDF are carrying out in the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinian recognition of Israel as their overlord is of little importance. What Israelis should be concerned with is how the “the world’s most moral army” is being indoctrinated to casually murder children who are not amongst the chosen ones mI

Posted by hasbaranator | Report as abusive

The IDF is not indoctrinated to casually murder non-jewish children. They operate according to the laws of war.

But Hamas does indoctrinate children to casually murder Jewish people. That is a proven fact, and something Hamas boasts about. Watch “tomorrows pioneers”.

Posted by John Smith | Report as abusive