The top US diplomat leaves the region empty-handed again but vows a breakthrough is imminent. Either he’s not afraid of more humiliating failures, or he knows something we don’t.
Final status negotiations “within reach,” says Kerry. The Times of Israel, June 30, 2013.
Kerry: “Real progress,” but no Israel-Palestinian agreement. By Karen DeYoung and William Booth. Washington Post, June 30, 2013.
Why “a little more work” won’t do it, Mr.Kerry. By David Horovitz. The Times of Israel, July 1, 2013.
Even if talks resumed, they’d lead nowhere, because the Palestinians don’t see genuine peace with Israel as serving their own vital interests. Changing that reality is the diplomats’ true challenge.
Israeli official: Kerry disappointed in Abbas. By Mati Tuchfeld, Daniel Siryoti, and Yoni Hirsch. Israel Hayom, July 1, 2013.
Kerry vs. Palestinian obstinacy. By Eli Hazan. Israel Hayom, July 1, 2013.
Kerry avoiding the blame game. By Dan Margalit. Israel Hayom, July 1, 2013.
Chaos in the Middle East Grows as the U.S. Focuses on Israel. By Mark Landler and Jodi Rudoren. New York Times, July 1, 2013.
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.
Insanity — according to a definition variously attributed to Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Confucius, and most credibly to a 30-year-old book called “Narcotics Anonymous” — is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Secretary of State John Kerry, allowing hope to triumph over experience, has plunged into the morass of the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” Since assuming office in January, Kerry, following in the footsteps of American diplomats before him, has made five trips to the Middle East in a bid to get peace talks restarted. This may prove a bit tricky if, as Khaled Abu Toameh reports, the Palestinian Authority insists on Jews being banned from any and all meetings, a condition that would violate U.S. law. Nonetheless Kerry is determined to keep hope alive. Preparing to depart from Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport, the secretary told a somewhat skeptical media “that with a little more work, the start of final-status negotiations could be within reach.” I fear Secretary Kerry will have to do a flip-flop on this statement as he has done on others in the past.
Kerry’s Top Ten Flip-Flops. By Joel Roberts and David Paul Kuhn. CBS News, February 11, 2009.
Kerry discusses $87 billion comment. CNN, September 30, 2004. Video of comment on YouTube.