Kerry’s Mission Impossible

July 17, 2013 1:01 pm 6 comments

Screen shot of John Kerry in Israel. Photo: Israel Hayom.

No, it is not a bird, a plane or, least of all, Superman. It is only Secretary of State John Kerry flying yet again to the Middle East, this time to Jordan, in another futile attempt to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

One might infer, from the familiar destination of Kerry’s frenetic travels, that nothing else deserving of his attention is roiling the neighborhood in, say, Egypt or Syria. Kerry seems obsessed with the idea that he can broker a final solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has eluded resolution ever since the Palestinians rejected statehood back in 1947 when the United Nations voted to partition Palestine.

Never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity, as Abba Eban memorably observed of Arabs decades ago, Palestinians somewhat belatedly realized that perhaps they should turn back the clock. Ever since Jordan launched the attack against Israel in the Six-Day War that cost it the West Bank, Palestinians have demanded that the clock be reset to May 1967 with Israel’s pre-war “Auschwitz” borders (Eban again) defining the old-new reality, as though the war never happened.

Israel must also freeze settlement construction where more than 350,000 Jews now live in land that happens to be the biblical homeland of the Jewish people. And, as a good-will gesture, it must agree to the release of more than one hundred Palestinian prisoners “with blood on their hands” from murdering Jews. Then, presumably, real negotiations can begin.

If this seems like a charade, it is. But Kerry probably remembers that on the Israeli side of the table sits Benjamin Netanyahu, who has a history as prime minister of caving in to American pressure. Although he first took office in 1996 as a sharp critic of the Oslo Accords, he was quickly pressured by the Clinton administration to become more conciliatory following an eruption of Palestinian violence after a new exit from the tunnel adjacent to the Western Wall was opened – with Yasser Arafat’s approval.

Within months Netanyahu signed the Hebron Protocol, which divided the ancient city where the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people are entombed in Me’arat HaMachpelah. Jews were confined to a tiny ghetto, where they were vulnerable to Palestinian attacks because Israeli soldiers were under orders to turn the other cheek.

Early in his current term as prime minister, Netanyahu agreed to a ten-month settlement freeze to meet Palestinian Authority demands for renewed peace negotiations. Although he subsequently promised no more freezes, it was recently revealed that his government had quietly curtailed new settlement construction, receiving nothing in return. Along the way, he agreed to the exchange of more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners for imprisoned Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Nearly 300 of those released had received life sentences for the murders of 569 Israeli civilians. Within months, dozens of them were rearrested for renewed violence.

Given Netanyahu’s proclivities for submitting to diplomatic and political pressure, it is not surprising that Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon recently attempted to divert the conversation from renewed – and disastrous – Israeli concessions. His initiative would actually preserve the ancient biblical homeland for the Jewish people rather than allowing it to become a launching pad for Palestinian, Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist attacks.

“Our interest,” Danon stated bluntly, “is to retain as much territory in Judea and Samaria as possible, placing it under Israeli sovereignty.” The citizenship status of Palestinians would be decided jointly with Egypt and Jordan. They would not become citizens of Israel. Left unsaid by Danon was the likeliest outcome: West Bank Palestinians would be reunited with Jordan, as they were before 1967. Jordan, after all, comprises two-thirds of Palestine as originally defined by the League of Nations after World War I. Its population is 60 percent Palestinian. It is, de facto, the Palestinian state in Palestine (if ruled by a Hashemite king).

When Jordan was severed from Palestine in 1922 by Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill, Jews were guaranteed the right of “close settlement” west of the Jordan River. That right, never rescinded, is the international guarantee for Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. Netanyahu, the son of a distinguished historian, should know that and firmly assert Israel’s sovereign right to its own land.

As for Kerry, aptly described at the outset of his current journey by Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens as “a fool on a fool’s errand,” it is time to return to safe harbor in Nantucket where his yacht awaits him.

Jerold S. Auerbach is the author, most recently, of Against the Grain: A Historian’s Journey (Quid Pro Books, 2012).

6 Comments

  • Isaac Barr MD

    As simple as that: 1. No conflict with Israel than the West does not have to bribe Abbas. Peace=no money. 2. Abbas is a 79 years old kaker with prostate cancer who has control of nothing, maybe northern Ramallah. 3. Abbas does not represent Fatah and Hamas “from the Jordan to the sea. 4. Obama and his dirty work executive Kerry wants to throw Israel under the bus. When a dispute between Muslim and Secular Obama always supported Muslims. In Iran spring, Qaddafi, Assad, Mubarak and now the Egyptian army. Why is Kerry wasting his time with irrelevant Palestine/Israel while the whole Middle East is a volcano ready to erupt? Because as irrelevant as it is it still is the scape goat to cover failed and corrupt regimes. 5. Taqyya- Muslim can negate on any agreement if “it is good for Islam”. Hamas did just that to all agreements already reached with Palestinian Authority.

  • The problem is not trying and trying ,then keep trying some more. the problem is much easier than that, but the misleading denial is the part that is troubling. This issue and situation is as simple as a piece of the puzzle that does not belong to that particular puzzle at all ,but yet Kerry ,and the Israelis ,with Washington’s help and insistence are trying to make it fit by force and every thing else they got. There is something in life called the Nature of things, or natural discourse. Justice, is one of its elements, and till this particular element and others are implemented as part of the solution, this non belonging piece of the puzzle will never fit, and if it does, in no time it will pop right out again. Simpler than this, it could not be put, so go ahead and keep trying. Israel and the US are only showing their real intention of forcing their will on the Palestinian people to accept what is good for Israel and the the US in the region, with total disregard to a real just peace for the Palestinians and Israelis. The rest is just pure deception and oppression with a barrel of the gun.

  • If at first you don’t succeed try and try again. Mr. Kerry can find the time and taxpayer money to fly back and forth to the middle east (particularly Israel)to broker something that is none of his business. But can he find time to intervene in Syria or Hezbolla? NO!! Mr. Kerry, stop spending out money on these trips!!

  • It is extremely depressing to see the political clout of the United States so misguided and misused. It seems like all of the United States’ Middle Eastern foreign policies in this administration have back fired. The precarious Middle East is a product of America’s broken will and judgment.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs 10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    Ten major film studios are currently in production on projects that promote a decidedly pro-Israeli narrative. In famously liberal Hollywood, such a development has left mouths agape and set tongues a wagging. Since the Jewish State began defending itself from the thousands of rockets that Hamas has hurled at it – as well as ongoing terror attacks and murders, the overwhelming number of Tinseltown’s producers, directors, actors, and studio moguls have remained indifferent to the plight of millions of Israeli [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Sports So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia. “I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted. Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year. “When I made my decision, I knew it was going to [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the morale of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.