Last updated on: 5/13/2008 2:53:00 PM PST

Does Israel Have a Right to Exist?

PRO (yes)

Kofi Annan, MS, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, in a Mar. 28, 2001 speech to the Arab League, stated:

"The international community and the Arab world have every right to criticise Israel for its continued occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory, and for its excessively harsh response to the Intifada. But these points could be made more effectively if many Israelis did not believe that their existence was under threat. Israel has a right, enshrined in numerous United Nations resolutions, to exist in safety within internationally recognised borders... What we need is movement towards an agreement that responds both to the legitimate desire of the Palestinians for national independence, and to the legitimate claims of the Israelis to recognition and security."

Mar. 28, 2001 - Kofi Annan, MS 

Yasser Arafat, former chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in a Sep. 9, 1993 letter to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, wrote:

"The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in Peace and security...The PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel's right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid."

Sep. 9, 1993 - Exchange of Letters Between Yassir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin Before the Signing of the Oslo Declaration of Principles (7 KB)  
Yasser Arafat 

Abba Eban, former member of the Knesset Committee on Foreign Affairs and Security, in a Nov. 18, 1981 New York Times article titled "The Saudi Text," wrote the following:

"Nobody does Israel any service by proclaiming its 'right to exist.' Israel's right to exist, like that of the United States, Saudi Arabia and 152 other states, is axiomatic and unreserved. Israel's legitimacy is not suspended in midair awaiting acknowledgement... There is certainly no other state, big or small, young or old, that would consider mere recognition of its 'right to exist' a favor, or a negotiable concession."

Nov. 18, 1981 - Abba Eban 

Alexander Kalugin, a Russian Mideast envoy, was quoted in a China Daily Online article on Feb. 10, 2006, referring to Russia's position on the election of Hamas:

"We want them [Hamas] to respect all previous agreements in order to prevent terrorist attacks. Of course, it is also necessary to embark on the road toward recognition of Israel 's right to exist." 

Feb. 10, 2006 - Alexander Kalugin 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, speaking at a public forum at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government on Jan. 30, 2004, said:

"As the prime minister of a nation that has lived in friendship with its Jewish citizens for centuries and continues to maintain close friendship with both Israelis and Palestinians, I should like to declare this explicitly... Turkey will not accept any notion that denies Israel’s right to exist."

Jan. 30, 2004 - Recep Tayyip Erdogan 

The 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty, signed by Jordan's King Hussein on Oct. 26, 1994, contains the following statement:

"Peace is hereby established between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the State of Israel (the 'Parties') effective from the exchange of the instruments of ratification of this Treaty...

They recognize and will respect each other's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence...

They recognize and will respect each other's right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries...

They respect and recognize the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the region."

Oct. 26, 1994 - Treaty of Peace Between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (7 KB)  

CON (no)

Ahmad Nasser, former Secretary of the Palestinian Legislative Council, on PA (Palestinian Authority) TV, Feb. 6, 2004, stated the following as quoted by Palestinian Media Watch:

"Israel was established on the basis of theft. The State of Israel is Satan's offspring - a satanic offspring. It was founded on theft from the first moment. It was founded on the basis of robbery, terror, killing, torture, assassination, death, stealing land and killing people and will continue this way, never able to exist because its birth was unnatural, a satanic offspring, and cannot exist among human beings...

It cannot exist naturally, like other nations in this world."

Feb. 6, 2004 - Ahmad Nasser 

Khaled Meshaal, Chairman of the Hamas political bureau in Damascus, was quoted by Ha'aretz online May 3, 2006 while on a visit to Moscow:

"We [Hamas] believe that Israel has no right to exist."

May 3, 2006 - Khaled Meshaal 

Achmad Cassiem, Imam, National Chairperson of the South African Islamic Unity Convention, in a May 23, 2002 speech given on Radio 786 (a Muslim community radio station in Cape Town, South Africa), stated:

"Our position is that even if the Zionist State [Israel] is the size of a postage stamp it has no right to exist. Occupied Palestine must be decolonized, deracialized and restored to the Palestinian people as a single sovereign state. In plain English, the Zionist State must be dismantled."

May 23, 2002 - Achmad Cassiem 

Neturei-Karta, an Orthodox Jewish group, in a June 9, 1995 New York Times advertisement titled "What About the Ten Rhetorical Questions?" stated the following:

"All Palestine should be returned to the Palestinians and other occupied lands should be returned to their owners. And the Zionist enterprise should cease to exist. Only then will the misery wrought by Zionism disappear."

June 9, 1995 - Neturei Karta 

Ibrahim Mudayris, Head of the Association for Memorizing the Quran, stated on Palestinian Authority TV, May 13, 2005 that:

"This Naqba ['Catastrophe'] is the worst day of remembrance for the Palestinian people ... because with the loss of Palestine, the Arab nation was lost, and with the establishment of the false state of Israel, the whole Muslim nation was lost... He who says that the Jews have any right over this land - besides being occupiers - is a liar, and they will disappear."

May 13, 2005 - Ibrahim Mudayris 

Mahatma Gandhi, the late civil rights leader, in a letter titled "The Jews in Palestine 1938," published Nov. 26, 1938 in Harijan, wrote:

"Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home."

Nov. 26, 1938 - Mahatma Gandhi