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John Kerry Photo: AP
John Kerry Photo: AP
 
 

Clueless US mediator

Op-ed: Kerry pressuring Israel to make dangerous concessions for the sake of negotiations that will lead nowhere

Hagai Segal
Published: 07.07.13, 09:40 / Israel Opinion

Even the New York Times expressed bewilderment over the energy John Kerry is currently investing in trying to set up a meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas. Egypt is in flames, Syria is burying its dead by the thousands, but Kerry wants to bring peace to "tranquil Tel Aviv," as reported by the influential American newspaper.

 

"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, once a stark symbol and source of grievance in the Arab world, is now almost a sideshow in a Middle East consumed by sectarian strife (and) economic misery… And yet Mr. Kerry, backed by Mr. Obama, still believes that tackling the problem is worth the effort," The New York Times said.

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In the few months since he entered office, the American secretary of state has visited the region more times that his predecessor Hillary Clinton had during her entire term. Seemingly, this has to do with Kerry's personal scheduling problems, but actually the frequency of his visits is indicative of a severe problem on a federal level.

 

The vast amount of energy Kerry is investing in an attempt to conquer the Sisyphean challenges here is placing American foreign policy in a ridiculous light. The US cannot make peace between Arabs and other Arabs, yet it believes it can make peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Washington has repeatedly failed to grasp the situation in Egypt and Syria, but thinks it has a good understanding of the situation in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

 

Is it possible that John Kerry is more talented than all the American mediators who came before him? Not at all. He exposed his ignorance in Middle Eastern affairs when, as a senior senator, he insisted on welcoming Assad back into the family of nations, met with the Syrian leader twice in Damascus and showered him with compliments. Kerry's mediation skills are limited to pressuring Israel to make dangerous concessions for the sake of negotiations that will lead nowhere. He lacks the intellectual and diplomatic ability to devise a permanent agreement that will satisfy both sides. He is a blind proponent of an impossible vision and is his own candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

Should a miracle occur and Kerry succeeds in establishing a Palestinian state, it will quickly turn into a new Syria or - in the best case scenario - a new Egypt. This has already happened in Gaza after we withdrew with America's encouragement. It will undoubtedly happen in Ramallah as well. In light of the breakneck pace of the Arab Spring, it is not at all certain that Kerry will win the prize before the Arab Spring reaches Palestine.

 

 

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