Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Kerry Throws In the Towel — Judith Levy


It’s not yet official, but it looks as though the Americans have decided to back off the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Haaretz reports, “President Barack Obama is expected to meet as early as tomorrow with Secretary of State John Kerry to begin a “reevaluation” of the extent of U.S. involvement.” US envoy Martin Indyk will be holding a last-ditch session with the parties later today in the hope of salvaging the talks, but the odds of success are slim.

According to Haaretz, the US administration has nothing but praise for Kerry’s tireless (or quixotic, depending on your point of view) efforts to get the two sides to negotiate. Blame is to be apportioned not to the Secretary but to the parties themselves, with an extra helping for one in particular:

Publicly, the Americans are pointing a finger at both sides, but in private the messages are different. Although the White House is angry at the Palestinians for going to the United Nations, most of its ire is directed at the Israeli government, to which it ascribes most responsibility for the crisis.

This is because the Americans believe Israel failed to honor its pledge to go through with the fourth phase of the Palestinian prisoner release, and because of the publication of a construction tender for housing in East Jerusalem at the most critical juncture on extending the talks.

The three prisoner releases that did take place, it will be recalled, were given by the Israelis to the Palestinians free of charge, with no corresponding concessions expected of any kind. They were intended simply to get the Palestinians to sit down at the table. One could argue that a party that has to be bribed to talk doesn’t really want to talk, and that a party that responds to the bribe by pocketing it, refusing to talk, and humiliating the power broker that arranged it really really doesn’t want to talk, but such points are generally dismissed as too simplistic. Apparently it did eventually penetrate in Washington that the Palestinians are acting in bad faith, even if a construction tender in East Jerusalem is still perceived as far more damaging and duplicitous than flouting the entire basis of the US-backed peace initiative and hightailing it to First Avenue. 

The prime mover behind the US pullback is allegedly Susan Rice, who is said to believe that “the United States should reduce its involvement in light of a lack of willingness on the part of the Israelis and Palestinians to make the tough decisions.” Kerry himself is using striking new language. Yesterday in Rabat, he said of the Israeli-Palestinian process:

It’s reality-check time. We are going to evaluate very carefully exactly where this is and where it might possibly be able to go…There are limits in the amount of time and effort that the United States can spend if the parties themselves are unwilling to take constructive steps in order to be able to move forward. This is not an open-ended effort. It never has been. Neither party has said they have called it off, but we are not going to sit there indefinitely.

An entirely understandable sentiment. It shall never be said you didn’t try. Go in peace, Secretary Kerry.

There are 27 comments.

  1. Israel P. Inactive

    But he still has the hat.

    • #1
    • April 6, 2014, at 3:52 AM PDT
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  2. Israel P. Inactive

    There are two distinct phrases in Hebrew: “lech lishalom” and “lech bishalom.” Both are generally rendered as “go in peace” in English, but they are not the same. What we generally mean by “go in peace” is “lech lishalom.” “Lech bishalom” is used when the intention is that the person will not return – such as with Isaac and Avimelech (Gen 26, 31) when it means “go and don’t come back.” That is the term we use at a funeral, as well, and for the same reason. For Kerry, our choice of words is clear. Lech bishalom.

    • #2
    • April 6, 2014, at 4:14 AM PDT
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  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kerry has to head home to wipe the diplomatic egg off of his face.

    • #3
    • April 6, 2014, at 5:43 AM PDT
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  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Given the amount of egg and the size of his face, this is going to take a while….

    • #4
    • April 6, 2014, at 5:45 AM PDT
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  5. Manfred Arcane Inactive

    Well, at least when he was wrapped up in these matters he was otherwise absent from the rest of the world stage. Now that his time is freed up, we Americans have to wonder ‘what fresh hell’ he will visit upon us to satisfy his vainglory.
    PS. Tell the truth now, you folks over there in Israel, when US SoSs make a plunge into the I-P negotiations, is this ever considered helpful, or is it always a ‘mixed blessing’ (to be euphemistic)?

    • #5
    • April 6, 2014, at 6:50 AM PDT
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  6. Kay of MT Member

    Judith, you quote Haaretz which is a leftist leaning newspaper. You seem to be sympathic towards Kerry who has dealt with Israel in a perfidious manner in keeping with Obama’s goal to help the PLO wipe Israel off the map.

    Again, I offer you Caroline Glick’s article:

    “Transforming the US into the proxy of a terrorist organization was just the beginning of Kerry’s failure.”

    When you have the US acting as the proxy for the terriorist PLO, the leftist collaboration comes crashing down. The whole process was completely fraudulent and one sided to force Israel to make more concessions.

    Listen to Caroline’s speech from the Wednsday Morning Club, on April 2nd.

    • #6
    • April 6, 2014, at 7:40 AM PDT
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  7. Devereaux Inactive

    Truth to tell, there has never been any serious attempt at anything that even vaguely appears like a lasting peace. Nothing the “Palestinians” (a term of little meaning as far as I’m concerned) have ever proposed is in keeping with any serious desire to live in peace.

    I understand that the arabs (better term for me) have some grievences in how they have been treated by the Israelis. Still, like the South that perennially claims “the war of Northern Aggression” when they started it, the obvious truth is that the numerous serious wars, and the continuing emnity and violence, is all arab-introduced. At some point I would expect any rational person to simply give up and decide that there is no further “progress” to be made.

    I would like to see the US declare that since there has been nothing but bad faith on the part of the arabs, and since the arabs have repeatedly attacked Israel, it is time to acknowledge that the current borders are rational and the right of Israel to extend to the Jordan has been won by act of the arabs.

    Wars should have concequences. You can’t keep hitting King’s X.

    • #7
    • April 6, 2014, at 7:59 AM PDT
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  8. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member


    This news would be a great relief. However, I just don’t trust BHO. He’ll be back to extract his pound of political flesh from the Jewish State sooner or later.

    A brief rest from the incessant stupidity is still very welcome.



    • #8
    • April 6, 2014, at 8:14 AM PDT
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  9. Group Captain Mandrake Inactive

    To Kerry, I must quote Oliver Cromwell:

    Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. In the name of God, go!

    • #9
    • April 6, 2014, at 8:17 AM PDT
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  10. Group Captain Mandrake Inactive

    It’s a sign of the monumental arrogance of the Obama administration that they thought they could pull off a peace agreement. In this case, past performance should have been an excellent indicator of future performance (not only the past performance of people who have tried to bring the two sides together but also the recent past performance of the Obama administration in foreign affairs such as Syria, Russia and Iran). Like a perverse version of the Bourbons, they learned nothing and forgot everything.

    • #10
    • April 6, 2014, at 8:25 AM PDT
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  11. Kay of MT Member

    Another article.

    • #11
    • April 6, 2014, at 10:00 AM PDT
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  12. civil westman Inactive

    Only diplomats and Jew-haters will not understand the obvious: Israel would like peace with security (there is ample empirical evidence for the need for security); Arabs want to destroy Israel. These basic facts has not changed since 1948.

    • #12
    • April 6, 2014, at 11:09 AM PDT
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  13. Pencilvania Inactive

    So if the deal is off, the three freed prisoners will be immediately remanded back to Israel, hmm?

    • #13
    • April 6, 2014, at 12:27 PM PDT
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  14. Kay of MT Member

    civil westman:Only diplomats and Jew-haters will not understand the obvious: Israel would like peace with security (there is ample empirical evidence for the need for security); Arabs want to destroy Israel. These basic facts has not changed since 1948.

     Actually CW, the first big go at getting rid of the Jews was in 1920, when the Brits were in control. From Serah Honig’s post: The Postulate of illegitimacy. I posted here:

    The pivotal murder-drive of 1920 and its aftermath are vital for understanding why John Kerry’s peace pageant is a flop and why Israel so profoundly displeases him, his boss Barack Obama and their pet-Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas. It established the prototype whereby Jews are punished for Arab crimes against Jews. It highlights the pattern of appeasing Arab wrath and of Jews paying – as if Jewish existence is in and of itself a casus belli.

    • #14
    • April 6, 2014, at 12:30 PM PDT
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  15. Kay of MT Member

    Pencilvania:So if the deal is off, the three freed prisoners will be immediately remanded back to Israel, hmm?

     You mis-understand, there were 104, prisioners to be releasted in batches of 26 each during 4 phases, 78 have already been released. The 4th release was to consisted of 26 more murders and terriorist of the worst sort, thankfully they will not be freed. These felons are the same as Charles Manson types. How about if any one of the Middle East countries demanded Manson’s release just to sit down with Obama and discuss the possibility of having a discussion. That is what it amounts to. And no, those already release have vanished into the PLO camps.

    • #15
    • April 6, 2014, at 12:54 PM PDT
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  16. Mare Pete Coolidge
    Mare Pete Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Israel should immediately invade the West Bank and take back the prisoners they released. Who cares what the Europeans and the Democrats think.

    • #16
    • April 6, 2014, at 1:17 PM PDT
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  17. Danny Alexander Member

    I try not to bother with Haaretz, so if I’m repeating something included in any article Judith linked, my apologies.

    What I wanted to point out is that the 4th scheduled round of prisoner releases was in many ways the round poised to stick in Israel’s collective craw the strongest.

    Reason being that the expected list of the to-be-released included terrorist murderers with Israeli citizenship, i.e., Israeli Arabs; this is in contradistinction to the terrorist murderers who made up the prior 3 rounds of prisoner releases — in those cases, all on those lists were Arab but not Israeli Arab, i.e., not citizens of Israel.

    For Abu Mazen/Mahmoud Abbas to demand that the putative 4th round of releases include citizens of Israel was for many (most?) in Israel quite simply a brazen and intolerable negation of Israeli national sovereignty.

    Indeed, I think it may have been that many of those same Israeli Arab terrorist murderers were actually included on the lists that Abu Mazen had presented to Israel during the prior 3 release rounds, so this affront was not new.

    Bibi Netanyahu, when presented with those names, would strike them from the 3 prior lists and then “balance” off those removals (more as a sop to Obama/Kerry than to the PA) by placing temporary holds on construction approvals for ready-to-start projects in Judea/Samaria Israeli communities.

    • #17
    • April 6, 2014, at 3:00 PM PDT
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  18. Kay of MT Member

    There seems to be 11 of the last 26 who are Israeli citizens. List from Daniel Pipes web site. Maybe with the leftist NGO organizations, Perry, Olmert, and Ashkenazi, having their power yanked, there will be less of this in the future.

    Previous exchanges were the follow: 

    1985 – 1,150 prisoners for 3 captured Israelis

    2000 – 450 Arab prisoners for 3 Israeli bodies and a kidnapped Israeli;

    2008 – 5 Arab prisoners (including the psychopath Samir al-Kuntar) and 199 Arab bodies for 2 Israeli bodies;

    2011 – 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Schalit.

    • #18
    • April 6, 2014, at 4:14 PM PDT
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  19. Mickerbob Inactive

    Is the only reason the PLO acts like they might want to sit down is to extract prisoners from Israeli jails? If this is so, isn’t Israel complicit in having their citizens injured or killed by these convicted felons? ….the same thing over and over…. I am a supporter of Israel as a concept, but this? I can’t support this, it is too painful and counter productive.

    • #19
    • April 6, 2014, at 6:43 PM PDT
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  20. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It is the Palestinians who have screwed this process up year after year, decade after decade. The fact that the Obama administration blames Israel says far more about the Obama administration than the Israelis.

    • #20
    • April 6, 2014, at 6:49 PM PDT
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  21. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    The world and the press won’t have a problem with Barry blaming Jews for the failure of the peace process. If a peace agreement – if there is such a thing that can be described with a straight face, considering what Israel has to to daily to defend herself – can’t be Barry’s legacy, then he certainly will not be blamed for its failure.

    So, like virtually all Democrats before him, Barry (through his rotting State Department) blames the Jews, cites settlements, and we go right back to where Israel always was with this guy:


    • #21
    • April 6, 2014, at 7:25 PM PDT
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  22. Zafar Member

    Unexpected consequence:

    [US Ambassador to the UN] Samantha Power testified on the Hill on April 2, and conservatives’ reports have emphasized her statement that it is not in the U.S. interest to defund UN organizations that accept Palestine as a state, despite a new US law calling for that action. Power said the Palestinians should get a waiver on that law.

    “In the event that the Palestinians seek and obtain membership in a U.N. agency, the last thing that we want to do is to give them a double win,” she said. “And it would be a double win for them to secure a win in an agency on the one hand, and then the exclusion of the United States from that very agency, leaving the agency at the mercy of leadership from Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela – the countries that tend to fill the space when we depart.”

    • #22
    • April 6, 2014, at 8:20 PM PDT
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  23. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It seems likely that at such time as Israel is more actively pressed (or even attacked) by whomever, this Administration will be able to shrug their shoulders and say that Israel (they may even be more direct by saying Netanyahu) has been unwilling to work “in good faith.” Thus, there is no way that the United States can show support to any such regime with either blood or treasure.

    This may even be a prime reason behind staging this “walkout.”

    • #23
    • April 6, 2014, at 8:37 PM PDT
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  24. Scott R Member
    Scott R Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    John Kerry will take his foam-rubber John Kerry mask and go home, but the “peace process” will begin all over again in the HRC administration (or, probably, in any Republican administration too). So we’ve got that to look forward to.

    • #24
    • April 6, 2014, at 8:47 PM PDT
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  25. Kay of MT Member

    Abbas cannot sign any kind of agreement with Israel under any conditions, as it will get him killed. Muslim Arabs even kill other Arabs for selling a piece of property or a house to Israelis. If he can get the UN to make some stipulation, then he cannot be seen as making an agreement with Israel, for peace or anything else. The USA administration both dems and repubs seem to be 100% behind the PLO being recognized as a state even tho there is no legality for it. I think Abbas is scared out of his messy drawers from the pressure the US is putting on him to sit down with Israel, and he cannot do it and stay alive.

    • #25
    • April 6, 2014, at 8:57 PM PDT
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  26. Kay of MT Member

    Isn’t this nice? Abbas and Hamas getting back together.

    • #26
    • April 8, 2014, at 6:15 PM PDT
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  27. Kay of MT Member

    Devereaux, Referring to these miserable people as “Arab” isn’t really correct either. They are Muslims, with most of them of Arab descent. But Israel has lots of Arab citizens that are not terrorist, and there are Arab Christians who not do these terrible things and do not wish Israel to be destroyed. A lot of the terrorism comes from Iran, and they are not Arabs either, they are Persian. Many of the people in the West Bank are immigrating into Israel as they don’t want to live under the PLO. They prefer to be Israeli citizens.

    • #27
    • April 8, 2014, at 6:27 PM PDT
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