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July 8, 2013 11:43 am

Washington Post: Kerry’s ‘Intense Focus’ on Peace Process Provokes ‘Head-Scratching Among Diplomats’

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

In an editorial published by the Washington Post Sunday, the paper attempted to deconstruct U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s “intense focus” on reaching a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that, it said, “provokes more than a little head-scratching among diplomats from the Middle East” who ask why the secretary of state isn’t more focused on Syria and Egypt.

The Post first attempts to answer the criticism in a “logical–if narrow” fashion, explaining that U.S. President Barack Obama has thwarted any possibility of Kerry becoming involved in Syria, and that the Pentagon, due to its close relationship with the Egyptian military— is best equipped to handle Egypt.

While offering kudos to Kerry for his efforts, the editorial reserves its criticism for the actual peace talks, as opposed to discussion about the resumption.

“But what happens when and if negotiations start? That is where the real trouble lies for Mr. Kerry: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have demonstrated repeatedly over the past two decades that they are unwilling to make the sort of compromises a two-state peace deal would require,” The Post writes.

In an attempt at unambiguous practicality, the editorial offers solutions apart from an all-out peace settlement, which it dismisses from the outset.

“We’d like to believe that he recognizes that a peace deal is not feasible now and is aiming at useful interim steps, such as the economic development plan for the West Bank he has suggested or Israel scaling back settlement construction and yielding control of more West Bank territory,” the editorial notes, adding “Those would be achievements worth an investment of time, assuming one has written off the possibility of American leadership beyond Jerusalem and Ramallah.”

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