From “There are no Palestinian people” to “Sorry for their suffering”
Israeli discourse of recognition of the Palestinians
The aim of this paper is to examine the evolving Israeli discourse of recognition of the Palestinian people and their suffering as a case study for theorizing the role of recognition statements in peace processes. Three stages of recognition are characterized and applied in order to understand the changing attitudes of Israeli officials toward the Palestinians: (1) acknowledgment of a political entity; (2) acknowledgment of their suffering; (3) acknowledgment of responsibility for their suffering. An analysis of Israeli officials’ statements allows one to track the evolving recognition of one side in a conflict vis-à-vis the suffering of the other. Further, analysis of the response in Israel, in Palestinian territories and in the Arab world to what is considered the most far-reaching recognition statement made by an Israeli official enables us better to understand the role of such statements in promoting reconciliation.
Keywords: Recognition, Apology, Political Discourse, Reconciliation, Israeli-Palestinian conflict