By Alan Edelstein
The Secretary made no mention of the "right-wing" Netanyahu, at substantial political cost, halting "settlements" for nine months to no avail. No mention of Netanyahu, at substantial political cost, releasing murderers from prison in an effort to coax Abbas back to negotiations. (Ever wonder why someone who supposedly wants a state has to be bribed to come negotiate for it?)
No mention of the Prime Minister endorsing a two-state solution despite overwhelming opposition in his own party. No mention of the P.A.'s continued refusal to recognize the right of Jews to have a state in part of their historical homeland. No mention of Abbas' continued denial of any Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
No mention of Abbas' continued demand to not just have one new Palestinian state, but to also make Israel into a Palestinian Arab state via his insistence on a "right of return" for descendants of refugees.
No mention of the 1.7 million Palestinians governed by Hamas, which continues to declare its intention to destroy Israel and which would very likely take over an independent Palestinian state.
One could easily conclude that the Secretary of State is either a well-intentioned fool or an ill-intentioned political hack.
The Secretary has lately gotten into the fairly nasty habit of telling Israelis that we are blind to the situation of the Palestinians, that we are going about our lives ignoring their problems, and that we do not know the terrible catastrophe that awaits us if we do not accept his dictates.
Apparently, according to the Secretary, we've just got our heads buried in our cappuccinos.
Secretary Kerry does not seem to understand that lecturing Israelis that they do not recognize or do not care about the situation, i.e. that we are numb and dumb, is not the most compelling way to build trust and confidence.
In response to Prime Minister Netanyahu's setting off alarms about the possible deal with Iran, Secretary Kerry took very public umbrage at the mere hint that Israel might think for a minute that he and President Obama don't recognize what is good for Israel and the world, that they might cut a bad deal, or that they might get hoodwinked.
The Secretary seemed indignant that we might think he and President Obama could be sold a bill of goods or that they might fold too early.The Secretary's view of what is appropriate behavior in international relations apparently depends on whether he is the giver or receiver of warnings and words of caution.
If one did not know that Secretary of State Kerry is a sophisticated player on the world stage, one might conclude that he does not see the inconsistencies in his reaction to the concerns of others versus his expressions of criticism and concern. Or, if one assumes that he is sophisticated and recognizes the inconsistencies in his words and behavior, one might conclude that he is a hypocrite.
For those interested in a more sophisticated analysis of the situation than Secretary Kerry's if and immediate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is not forthcoming, see Aaron David Miller's recent piece in Foreign Policy Magazine. Miller, a Middle East specialist in the Clinton Administration, offers a realistic prognosis, in contrast to Secretary Kerry's rather hysterical predictions that come close to justifying violence.