As someone who is interested in the Israeli-Palestinian question one phrase that comes up in the pro-Israeli position is the insistence that the Palestinians recognise '"Israel's right to exist". (In fact this is one of the key conditions that the so-called honest broker, the USA insisted upon, on brokering the Oslo accords, without insisting on a quid-pro-quo from Israel, that is insisting on Palestines right to exist. This was especially important given Golda Meirs assertion that the Palestinian people didn't exist; and how can a people who don't exist have title to land? So the USA should have insisted on this quid pro quo - that it didn't do so showed it dishonesty as a so-called 'honest broker' - a term still current today(!)).
What should be understood by this assertion?
After all, I don't ask a pear of its right to exist. It simply exists. Moreover I can't ask the pear to recognise my right to exist. Whereas, of course, the reciprocal question can be asked of Israel - that is the right of the Palestinian people to exist. After all, Golda Meir infamously said:
When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? […] It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.
A right that can be demanded where the reciprocal right cannot be strikes me as a very curious form of right. It appears then less of a right and merely a demand and a demand backed up by force - the military might of one of the strongest militarised states in the Middle East backed up by the most militarised state on this planet - the United States (and that by a very large margin). Some right.
Moreover, when we look at the former Soviet Union - we see that the peoples of the Soviet Union are still there - they haven't gone anywhere. They still speak Russian (and other languages). They still practice their religion (apparently there was a resurgence after the fall of the Soviet Union). The buildings are all there too - Red Square and so on.
So what ought to be understood by "Israel's right to exist?". Is its particular political configuration? But then again, the United Kingdom is recognisably still the same state it was a thousand years ago despite many political changes - including its expansion into an empire in the 17th century and then its breakup in the 20th century (and apparently if the SNP has its way - the further break up of a four hundred year union!).
Is there perhaps a legal dimension? But according to Wikipedia there is no such right under International Law. So it seems this then turns on what is meant by such a right - and hence my question: what is meant by such a right?
Answers that point to the serious literature will be appreciated.