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Doubtless, it was a shock to many Israelis that the Spanish parliament recognized the state of Palestine – well sort of – on the day that two Palestinians attacked a synagogue in Jerusalem, killing four people.The Spanish move came only weeks after the Swedish government recognized a Palestinian state and the British parliament passed a motion urging the government to recognize a Palestinian state alongside Israel, to contribute to a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Before long Israelis will have to determine what to do with a rising Palestinian population in their midst. They cannot expel them, because of the international outcry and because Palestinians could be expected to fight back; they cannot expect the growing Palestinian population to supinely accept being banished to a nominal, fragmented mini-state surrounded by Israel; and they cannot absorb Palestinians, because Israeli Jews do not want to create a demographic time bomb that ultimately transforms them into a minority. Israel is systematically seeking to reduce the Arab population of East Jerusalem.Nor can Israeli Jews assume that all will remain well and unchanged with their Arab Israeli countrymen, particularly at a time when the government is demanding that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
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