Just about everyone familiar with the Middle East peace process knows what shape a final status agreement will take. Any agreement that will bring about a lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will consist of the following elements:
- The right of Israel to exist and to be secure as a Jewish state shall be recognized.
- Israeli settlements will be removed and dismantled.
- There will be some form of joint governance or partition of Jerusalem.
- There will be no right of return for Palestinian refugees.
Of course, just because everyone knows what shape a final status agreement will ultimately take does not mean that we will actually have a final status agreement anytime soon. So I suppose that in one sense, it ought to surprise no one that Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian authority, refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Given all of the delays and obstruction that have thus far prevent the creation and implementation of a comprehensive peace agreement between the Arabs and the Israelis, another such delay is almost par for the course.
But that shouldn’t stop anyone from condemning Abbas and the Palestinian authority for obstructing peace. And to the extent that more blood is shed as a consequence of Abbas’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, well, that blood is directly on Mahmoud Abbas’s hands.