The United States touts itself as an impartial mediator between Israelis and Palestinians. Most of the international community continues to believe that the United States tends to favor the Israeli government position. However, a recent statement by Secretary of State John Kerry reinforces the Obama administration's critical approach toward Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's demand for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is "a mistake," Kerry said, and should not be a vital factor in the ongoing negotiations. Israel's identity as the "Jewish state" is covered by United Nations Resolution 181 in 1947, Kerry said, and thus is enshrined in international law.
But Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' says there is "no way" he will accept Israel as a Jewish because he believes that such recognition would defeat any chances for a Palestinian "right of return." The position stands in contrast with previous recognition by former PA President Yasser Arafat and the Palestine National Council.
An Israeli official told the Times of Israel that the U.S. administration finds it easier to criticize Israeli positions rather than confronting Palestinian obstinacy. Even though the U.S. may perceive that symbolic recognition is futile, it is a major root of the broader conflict – insinuating that the Palestinian Authority and the majority of Palestinian society reject the fact that Israel exists as a Jewish state in any form. Continuously advocating for a 'Right of Return' of Palestinian refugees to pre-1967 Israel would upset the demographic balance in favor of the Arab population in Israel and would lead to the de facto destruction of the Jewish state.
Moreover, State Department officials told the Jerusalem Post that Israel's decision on whether to allow its final release of prisoners next week, as per the initial agreement that initiated direct negotiations, would be critical for discussions to continue.
In contrast, British Prime Minister David Cameron supported calls to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state" on Thursday. "That's what Israel is and that's what it will be," Cameron stated at a joint press conference with Abbas in Ramallah. "Jews were persecuted around the world, including those murdered in the Holocaust, and so the decision was taken that Israel should be the homeland of the Jewish people and this is what it is," he said.