In August, 2013, this writer had a column in Front Page Magazine titled Why Kerry’s Mideast Peace Is Doomed. Less than a year later, it appears as if the aimless “peace” talks between Israel and the Palestinians, with Secretary of State John Kerry and Martin Indyk, the U.S Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, serving as chaperones, are over and done with. John Kerry, however, cannot bring himself to say enough. He is determined to succeed where so many others have failed. And, like his boss, President Barack Obama, he wants to add a Nobel Prize to his name.
The predictable failure of the “talks” is rooted in the Palestinians inability to resign to and accept the reality of a Jewish State. Mahmoud Abbas, (as Yasser Arafat before him), is unable to forgo his shared ideological commitment to the revolutionary past, and the “armed struggle,” aimed at liberating Palestine from the Jews.
Arafat, during the Camp David Summit in July, 2000, was given a golden opportunity to “end the conflict” with Israel, when Ehud Barak and President Bill Clinton offered him a Palestinian State on 97% of the West Bank and Gaza, and a capital in East Jerusalem, as well as additional territory to compensate for the 3% of land (Jewish settlements) slated to be annexed to Israel. Arafat understood that “an end of conflict” without “an end to Israel,” could cost him his life. He therefore chose to launch the Second Intifada.
Abu Mazen is cognizant of the personal price he will pay should he sign on a document that “ends the conflict.” It is for this reason that he, like Arafat, chose to contravene the agreement reached with Kerry and the U.S. Administration, which precluded his making any unilateral moves, such as applying for membership to 15 U.N. agencies. Moreover, Mahmoud Abbas’ insistence on the “Palestinian Right of Return,” and his refusal to recognize Israel as the Nation-State of the Jews, are clear indicators that the Palestinians never intended to make real peace with Israel. The façade was maintained in order to insure the financial rewards that stemmed from dealing with the U.S., which obligated them to enter the negotiations.
John Kerry and the Obama administration have continually ignored the fact that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority President, has failed to prepare his people for the possibility of peace with Israel. Instead, the Palestinians initiate campaigns that promote boycotts of Israel and hatred of its people. Diplomatic formulas cannot substitute for educating the Palestinian public about peace and humanizing Israelis, something neither Arafat nor Abbas have done since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993. On the contrary, both the deceased Arafat and his successor, Abbas, have created an educational system rife with hatred of Israelis, Jews, Christians and Americans. The next generations of Palestinians have been infected with the hatred and intolerance virus, and overcoming it will take more than a peace conference.
Israel’s delay in executing the fourth release of Palestinian terrorists with blood on their hands was the declared reason for the Palestinians to turn to the U.N. agencies for membership. That, however, was a mere excuse. Had it not been the release of the Palestinian terrorists, there would have been a half-dozen other excuses to abandon the negotiations including any construction in Jewish settlements, demands for more (terrorist) prisoner releases, the refusal to recognize Israel as a state of the Jews, and finally, insisting on the “Right of Return.”
Yoram Ettinger, former Israeli Consul General in Houston, Texas, and Minister for Congressional Affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Washington opined that, “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has ignored the lessons of history in favor of wishful thinking.” Ettinger told The Algemeiner that “Kerry’s refusal to acknowledge the historical facts and realities of the Middle East left America’s top diplomat smothered in a Middle East sandstorm.” Ettinger pointed out that the Obama administration’s ‘Palestine Firsters’ mentality was what doomed the nine months of peace talks that collapsed this week between the internationally recognized Jewish state and the PLO (as Ettinger prefers to call the Palestinian negotiating team). “Those initials,” Ettinger insisted, “with all the connotation those initials represent, is a clear reminder of its long terrorist roots, and showing how far the world is from, in its mistaken conventional wisdom of a Palestinian Authority, being prepared to govern beside Israel.”
Ettinger explained that the ‘Palestine Firsters’ believe that the Palestinian issue is the center of everything. “These are the same people who also believe that the UN is the quarterback of international relations. The UN assumes that the Palestinians issue is the center, so if the quarterback is telling you that the entire game plan has to be based on the Palestinian issue, you go with the quarterback. They also genuinely believe an Israeli concession – the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria – is going to do the trick, and thereby they ignore the roughly 100 years of conflict that sends a very clear message to the contrary.”
Following the delivery of letters of accession to 15 U.N. International conventions signed by Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Abed Rabbo, in a rather cynical retort said, “We hope that Kerry renews his efforts in the coming days. We don’t want his mission to fail.”
The Friday (4/4/14) editorial in the Washington Post disclosed that senior aides close to Kerry, as well as White House staffers, believe that there are no chances for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to succeed and that the time has come for Kerry to say “enough.”
Obama administration officials have said that Kerry has devoted too much time and effort to the Middle East negotiations at the expense of other urgent international issues. They hinted that his efforts to reach a deal between Israel and the Palestinians may end up damaging his reputation. “A point will come where he has to go out and own the failure,” an official said. For now, the official said, Kerry needs to “lower the volume and see how things unfold.”
Kerry’s financial inducement brought Abbas to the negotiating table to begin with, but that was not enough to build a comprehensive peace that ends the conflict. For Israelis and Americans, peace equals normalization of relations. For Palestinians in particular, it meant an opportunity for an extra financial bonus, unilateral Israeli concessions, including the release of over 100 terrorist killers, and heavy U.S. pressure on Israel. But, as Arafat demonstrated in July, 2000, the Palestinians are simply “unwilling to end the conflict” and refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. It is for this reason that Kerry’s Mideast peace initiative was doomed from the start.
Don’t miss the recent Glazov Gang episode with Mudar Zahran, a leader of Palestinians in Jordan who has been living in exile in the UK since 2010. He calls out Kerry on his “peace” plan and asks why a U.S. Secretary of State is threatening Israel to commit suicide:
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