By Raphael Ahren
On Thursday, we all got a much better look at what John Kerry really thinks about progress – and blame – in the new peace effort he worked so strenuously to revive. In a joint interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV and the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, Kerry basically blamed the Israeli government for stealing the Palestinians’ land.
Kerry seemed to place the blame for the failure to make rapid and major progress in negotiations overwhelmingly on Israel, with no acknowledgement of two intifadas, relentless anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian territories, the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the constant rocket fire from the Strip.
In lamenting the IDF’s presence in the West Bank, Kerry positioned himself directly opposite Netanyahu, for whom an ongoing Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley is a stated crucial condition for an agreement. He showed no evident concern over the danger of a Hamas takeover in the West Bank were the IDF to withdraw.
His line of thinking reflects much international conventional wisdom on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – the assumption that Israel could attain peace with the Palestinians if only it wanted to, but that it just doesn’t want to enough. Many Israelis would counter that Israel cannot impose terms on a Palestinian leadership that still demands a “right of return” that would constitute suicide for the Jewish state.
Israel is only too aware of how easily the relative calm could deteriorate, and thus is wary of relinquishing territory to a Palestinian leadership that might not be in a position to retain power and honor any accord amid sweeping regional instability. Read more at Times of Israel.