Remember that Kerry's last Middle East negotiations was when he thought he would easily wean away Syria's dictatorship from Iran.
Barry Rubin writes that Now We Know The Truth: What's Behind U.S. "Peace Process" Policy.
And what is behind Obama's Middle East peace policy?
One of the key rationales given, as noted in the New York Times, for the excessive attention given to Israel at the expense of the actual flashpoints in the region is that the US cannot afford to ignore Israel and the Palestinian Arabs and wait on the sidelines:
With the Palestinians poised to take their claim for statehood to the International Criminal Court and United Nations bodies, American officials say the two sides were facing a downward spiral in which the Israelis would respond by cutting off financing to the Palestinian territories and European nations might curtail their investment in Israel, further isolating the Israelis.Rubin analyzes the various points that we learn from this statement.
One thing we learn from this is that
The United States either will not oppose, or effectively oppose, this effort. Let’s pause here. You mean the United States cannot lead or pressure such countries as Britain, France, Germany, or Italy in saying “no.” The New York Times doesn’t point out what a failure of Obama Administration influence that would be. Let’s also note the incompetence and failure of that government to stop leading allies at the UN General Assembly to vote for non-member statehood (a non-binding vote) last year despite a one-year warning the PA would try this.None of the other points Rubin learns from the New York Times quote is any more encouraging.
Rubin then goes on to list 5 assumptions that provide the foundation for this defeatist policy of the Obama administration. In addition to the incompetence if not outright betrayal revealed by the above statement
It presumes that any battle to block either unilateral independence [of a Palestinian state] or punishment of Israel for opposing it would be doomed. This includes a refusal for the United State or European states to punish the PA even while they are believed they will eagerly punish Israel.Read the whole thing.
Incidentally, this explains Kerry’s seeming slip about Palestine already being an independent country! Will the Obama Administration recognize a state of Palestine not achieved through negotiation with Israel?
|John Kerry at Iftar dinner for negotiators -- sketching out US peace process? |
Credit: State Department
It does not take much to realize what a mess these talks are. The very fact that a unilateral concession requires Israel to release murderers -- destined to be celebrated by the Abbas regime -- gives an inkling of what Netanyahu has to deal with.
If you throw in the fact that Abbas is now in the 9th year of a four year term as president, that Hamas will not abide by any peace agreement, that factions of the PLO oppose the talks, and that there is no sign that Abbas will make any concession in return -- all of this points to an exercise in futility.
Unless all you care about is a piece of paper that allows the illusion of a real, binding agreement that Abbas will actually keep.
Unfortunately, the latter describes the Obama administration and the media.
It is more likely that this farce will end in failure.
At least let's hope so.
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