Powered by WebAds

Monday, July 01, 2013

Why John Kerry keeps beating his head against the wall and why he's going to continue to fail anyway

If you're wondering why US Secretary of State John Kerry keeps banging his head against the wall after five trips in four months, Raphael Ahren has some speculation.
Why is Kerry subjecting himself to failure after failure, even observers sympathetic to his goals are asking themselves. Is he heroically allowing himself to become discredited, wonder some (as they cast around desperately to explain the otherwise inexplicable), in the cause of keeping the contacts ongoing, because to admit defeat would be to leave a vacuum that extremists would rush to fill?
Solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a laudable goal, and Kerry might initially have been forgiven a belief that he was somehow uniquely qualified to break the deadlock. But visit after visit should surely have long since underlined a few simple truths: The two sides mistrust each other. Each is more concerned with avoiding blame for failed talks than prepared to take risks in the faint hope of success. Netanyahu and Abbas are also both looking over their shoulders at rivals and bitter opponents poised to capitalize on any missteps. And the unchanging bottom line: The most that Netanyahu might conceivably offer Abbas, were they ever to actually get to the table, is less than Abbas might conceivably accept — less than Ehud Olmert offered in his unrequited bid for an accord in 2008.
Those inescapable truths are hard to reconcile with Kerry’s insistent assertions at the airport that a breakthrough is “within reach,” and that all it needs is “a little more work.”
Kerry’s boss, president and Nobel peace laureate Barack Obama, also tried to tackle the conflict at the beginning of his first term, but backed away fairly rapidly, and subsequently focused his efforts on other areas.
Word from Netanyahu’s office after the talks collapsed in late 2010 was that the prime minister was willing to extend the 10-month settlement freeze that had briefly brought Abbas to the table then, but that the administration did not believe there was much point. Since then, Netanyahu has dug in against preconditions, while offering to discuss all issues at the table, and expressing a readiness for releases of pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners — phased releases, so that Abbas cannot simply come back to the table, secure the freedom of the pre-Oslo veterans, and walk away again. Abbas, for his part, evidently remains unmoved in his demands for a settlement freeze and a commitment that the talks would focus on a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 lines.
For Abbas, the option of battling Israel in UN forums is plainly more attractive than negotiating with a Netanyahu constrained by senior coalition partners from the far-right Jewish Home party, and key officials in his own Likud party, who are staunchly opposed to territorial compromise. For Netanyahu, the goal in these latest talks would appear to have been to convince Kerry that he’s really, honestly, truly interested in a two-state solution, if only Abbas would step up.
But Kerry just refuses to be discouraged.
And David Horovitz talks about why Kerry will ultimately fail and what it ought to be doing instead
The path to Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation does not run along the route much traveled by the well-intentioned Secretary Kerry between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Pulling Abbas and Netanyahu back to the table will only presage another failure — and the Second Intifada demonstrated how catastrophic the consequences can be.
Where the United States should be placing its energies, and its leverage, and its money, is in encouraging those frameworks that will create a climate in which the Palestinians actually recognize an interest in making true peace on terms that Israel can reasonably live with (terms that do not leave Israel vulnerable to military threat, and do not seek to alter the country’s demographic balance), because the Jews aren’t going anywhere, and Palestinian independence can only be attained in partnership with the Jewish state. The US should be supporting educational programs, and grass-roots interactions, and media channels that offer an honest perspective on the history of our conflict, and that promote a mutually beneficial future of co-existence. It should neither fund, nor encourage others to fund, institutions and organizations that perpetuate false narratives and consequent false grievances.
Change the climate. Gradually create an atmosphere of mutual respect, and a shared, fervent desire for an accommodation. Then you won’t have to be cajoling reluctant leaders back to the peace table.


But as the elections in 1992 and 1999 underline, the Israeli middle ground has elected would-be peacemakers when it sensed that hard-line prime ministers were missing genuine opportunities. There is no such sense today, no consensual feeling that Netanyahu — kicked out of office in 1999, remember — is blowing it; that a deal is there to be done if only we had a different prime minister. That’s how successful Arafat, Hamas, Fatah’s military wing, Abbas’s disingenuity, and the chilling Arab Spring have been in shattering Israeli confidence.
In a region where instability is now the norm pretty much everywhere bar Israel, and where Iran has thus far outmaneuvered the West as it speeds toward a nuclear weapons capability, this is a pretty discouraging time for a tiny country to be contemplating high-risk territorial compromise — especially when Hamas’s quickfire violent takeover from Fatah of Gaza in 2007 constituted a profoundly worrying precedent for what might occur were Israel to withdraw from the West Bank.
Kerry’s unfathomable enthusiasm notwithstanding, there are no short cuts. The only source of potentially justifiable optimism lies in a process of changed atmosphere and changed attitudes — a gradual process — in a Middle East, moreover, where Iran has been successfully faced down and relative moderates consequently emboldened.
But it's not going to happen. First, because the 'Palestinians' don't have an interest in starting that process nor the patience to wait for it, and never will so long as they believe they can destroy Israel. Second, because a two-state solution is not what the 'Palestinians' want. They want to destroy Israel. Always have and always will. And third, because too many Israelis know the truth. The 'Palestinians' are an invented people - invented to undermine Israel's existence. Ignoring all the evidence presented by Joan Peters and others is not going to change the truth. And deep down, even the 'Palestinians' themselves know it.

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 9:41 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

Why? For one thing Obama is a control freak's control freak and his cabinet officers are mere mouthpieces. Kerry wanted the job because he wants to go out on a high note and not a mere Senator. Sec State is technically the 4th highest job in the Constitution and you don't have to run for office. Secondly, all of Obama's foreign policy advisers are, to put it charitably, Islamists. At one point you could say that Obama was attempting to fix the problems he still believed were fixable within the scope of what he was willing to do. At one point. But that point passed about 5 years ago. And now it seems he's simply focusing on the problems that his Islamist advisers tell him to focus on specifically because they are neither fixable nor draw our attention to the mayhem that is the Arab world.


Post a Comment

<< Home