Israel as a Jewish State
In advance of the Annapolis conference, Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced the other day that he expects the Palestinian Authority to finally acknowledge Israel's existence as a Jewish state. If the more than 55 countries that make up the Organization of the Islamic Conference are entitled to recognition as Muslim states, and if the 22 members of the Arab League are universally accepted as Arab states, why should anyone balk at acknowledging Israel as the world's lone Jewish state? Yet Saeb Erekat, senior Palestinian Authority negotiator, said on Monday that Palestinians would refuse to recognize Israel's Jewish identity because "it is not acceptable for a country to link its national character to a specific religion." ... The flag of Saudi Arabia features the shahada -- the Islamic declaration of faith; the Islamic phrase Allahu Akbar (Allah is great") appears 22 times on the Iranian flag. And then there is Erekat's own Palestinian Authority, whose Basic Law provides in Article 4 that "Islam is the official religion in Palestine."