US Secretary of State John Kerry hurriedly broke off talks with European allies on the small matter of Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea to race back to Israel to try and salvage what he regards as his far more important Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” now on life support.
Like the 15th in a series of nearly identically bad sequels even worse original movie, Kerry is working frantically to insure we can all enjoy a 16th sequel by determining how much the Palestinians need to be appeased, how much the Israelis need to blamed and extorted, and to whom all the bribes must be paid.
When it comes to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, not only does fear of more failure not seem to deter Kerry and Obama, it almost acts as an inducement. This current round of talks started that eight months ago, has, in the words of Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin, become nothing more than, “a self fulfilling prophecy of Middle East failure.”
No matter how hard they try, Palestinians never seem able to provoke the Americans enough to win an outright condemnation, while, on the other hand, short of national suicide, no amount of Israeli concessions ever seems enough to win Obama’s praise.
Today’s provocation will surely be another case in point. Well aware that Kerry called off his European talks on Ukraine to beg Palestinian President Abbas to keep alive the very talks he has spent the past eight months sabotaging, Abbas, now in the 9th year of his four year term, definatly violated written commitments to refrain from taking unilateral steps to win UN recognition by signing 15 separate petitions to join various UN bodies.
Kerry’s response to Abbas’ latest humiliation of him was to cancel breakfast plans with him on Wednesday morning while saying it was “too early” to give up on the peace talks.
Before leaving Brussels for Tel Aviv, Kerry told reporters “It is completely premature to draw any kind of judgment, certainly any final judgment, about today’s events and where things are.”
“It’s at moments like this”, he continued “when we all need to remember exactly what brought us to this effort in the first place, what the goal is, and where everybody wants to end up.”
Maybe if Kerry remembered what it was that really “brought us to this effort in the first place”, we all could be spared of the charade now unfolding.
To remind him, Kerry spent the past week trying to pressure Israel into releasing still more convicted Palestinian terrorists as a “good will gesture” to prevent the Palestinians from leaving the talks (in fact, there have been no direct talks since the Palestinians walked out last November), evidently without considering that a party sincerely interested in peace would not make the release of people convicted in the terrorist murder of hundreds of Israeli women and children a precondition for even discussing peace.
Hysteria begets hysteria. By claiming, like Jordan’s King Abdullah did again yesterday, that this is the “last chance for peace”, all Kerry does is risk creating another deadly clash where none would otherwise occur. Always predicting catastrophe might have an unpleasant way of producing catastrophe.
The Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl wrote today that, compared to everything swirling around them, Israel and the territories were veritable gardens of Eden before John Kerry got to town.
By opting for defiant declarations over serious negotiations with Israel, the Palestinians have, for the umpteenth time, shown they mean precisely what they say. They don’t seek a Palestinian state to end their war against Israel, they seek a state to intensify their war against Israel.
Until the Palestinians are prepared to recognize and accept the legitimacy of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, there won’t even be a first chance for peace, let alone a last chance for peace.