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August 22, 2013 8:53 am

Kerry’s Peace Talks Could Lead to New Terror Attacks

avatar by Joseph Raskas

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat address reporters on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations at the U.S. Department of State. Photo: State Department.

The recent effort by US Secretary of State John Kerry to restart the moribund ‘peace process’ between Israel and the Palestinians is best illustrated by the old joke about the tourist who walks into a back-alley antique shop. Rifling through the objects on display, he discovers an intricate gold statue of a rat. The statue is so alluring that he grabs it and asks the owner for the price. “Ten dollars for the rat,” says the owner, “and an extra hundred dollars for the story behind it.” “Sorry, at that price, you can keep the story,” the tourist replies, “but I’ll take the gold rat.”

Having completed the transaction, the tourist exits the store with the gold rat tucked snugly under his arm. As he crosses the street in front of the store, two live rats emerge from a sewer drain and fall into lock-step behind him. The tourist nervously glances over his shoulder and begins to walk faster, but every time he passes another sewer, more rats emerge and follow him. After walking just two blocks, several hundred rats are already crawling at his heels. The tourist walks even faster, and eventually breaks into a run as a swarm of rats gather from nearby sewers, empty lots, and abandoned warehouses and begin to follow him. Within moments, rats by the thousands appear at his heels.

Finally, the tourist sees the waterfront at the bottom of the hill. With a giant leap, the tourist jumps up onto a lamp post, grasps it with one arm, and hurls the gold rat into the water below. The tourist watches as the foaming tide of rats surges over the seawall and into the sea, whereupon they all instantly drown. Quivering from complete shock, the tourist makes his way back to the antique shop.

“Welcome back sir, you must have returned for the story,” says the owner. “No,” says the tourist, “I was just hoping you had a gold statue of a lawyer.”

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In a similar vein, Mr. Kerry appears to be more interested in concluding the bitter Arab-Israeli conflict than paying attention to the actual story. The release by Israel of more than 100 Palestinian terrorist killers as a gesture of “goodwill,” which Mr. Kerry reportedly orchestrated, shows the secretary is more interested in pursuing peace-at-all-costs than honestly confronting the current geo-political reality.

Yet history shows us that conceding to Palestinian violence harms, rather than advances the prospects of peace. Since 1967 peace talks have failed because of Arab violence. In that same period of time, however, Palestinian terror has effectually publicized Palestinian grievances, garnered public support and prompted the international community to focus specifically on Palestinians and not on the broader Israeli-Arab conflict over the Golan Heights or the Sinai Peninsula.

Diplomatic gains were achieved as well – in 1974 then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat was invited to address the United Nations General Assembly.

Until today, terror has helped the Palestinian Authority gain the trappings of an emergent nation state. So as long as violence continues to produce favorable outcomes for the Palestinians, the PA leadership is likely to perceive this as the better option.

Moreover, by receiving a virtual get-out-of-jail-free card from Mr. Kerry, the chances the PA will negotiate in good faith on final status issues, such as the so-called right of return for the 1948 Palestinian refugees and the fate of Jerusalem, are probably slim to none.

Bearing that in mind, it’s possible PA leader Mahmoud Abbas will intentionally torpedo peace talks with Israel, and instead pursue the more favorable methods of incitement, violence and terror, as the PA has consistently done in the past.

Appeasement begets violence. Should Mr. Kerry continue to foist one-sided demands upon Israel, unfortunately, it might not be long before terror returns to the streets of Judea and Samaria.

Mr. Raskas served in the Israel Defense Forces and is a graduate student at The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.

This article was originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

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