Kerry, Hague and peace-talk hypocrisy

While weeping over terrorist attacks in their own countries, they still think settlements are the problem in Israel. Photo: AP

JERUSALEM, May 24, 2013 ― U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wasn’t the only whirlwind visitor to the Holy Land on Thursday. British Foreign Secretary William Hague, too, was in the neighborhood to see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Though it is Kerry who has come yet again to engage in shuttle diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinians, Hague was happy to serve as his American counterpart’s cheerleader.

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“We ask the United States to make a massive effort, the biggest effort in 20 years, to bring new momentum to the Middle East peace process, and I’m very pleased that the secretary of state is putting in that effort,” Hague said, following a meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem and then Abbas (whom he called “a courageous man of peace”) in Ramallah. “This cannot just stand still. It is becoming much more urgent as the weeks and months go by …”

It beggars belief that such sentiments come on the heels of a vicious Islamic terrorist attack in the streets of London ― but no more than Kerry’s concern that Israel curb settlement activity in order to prove to the Palestinians that it wants to achieve peace through capitulation.

Indeed, no matter how often it is proven that the Palestinian Authority ― like the radical Muslims in the Arab world and in the West ― considers the entire state of Israel to be a temporary “catastrophe” that must and will be eliminated, American, European and even many Israeli leaders continue to suggest that Israeli settlements are an “obstacle.”

These leaders prefer to listen to the likes of P.L.O. executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi reiterate the party line ― and lie. As Ashrawai repeated in an interview this week on CNN, “give [us] negotiations that have credibility, meaning legality, and bring Israel to compliance, and we will negotiate. People see a lot of motion but haven’t seen results yet. Palestinians have been twice bitten by all this motion without any substance without any results. The Palestinians are understandably extremely skeptical because the moment they see the U.S. administration willing to stand up to Israel and Israeli violations, then they will take these steps seriously.”

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In fact, it is the Israelis who have been “bitten,” and a lot more than twice, from negotiations with an entity bent on its destruction.

Still, Kerry talks about the issue as though it were merely a matter of ironing out mutual hostility and a border dispute that requires creative solutions.

“I know this region well enough to know that there is skepticism; in some corridors, there’s cynicism,” Kerry said on Thursday. “And there are reasons for it. There have been bitter years of disappointment. It is our hope that by being methodical, careful, patient, but detailed and tenacious, that we can lay out a path ahead that could conceivably surprise people, but certainly exhaust the possibilities of peace.”

This is a case of cognitive dissonance if there ever was one.

In the immediate aftermath of the jihadist Boston bombings, Kerry said that “terror anywhere in the world against any country is unacceptable and we need to continue to stand up and fight against it.”

Following the meat-cleaver butchering on Wednesday of 25-year-old British soldier Lee Rigby by two men screaming “Allahu Akbar [God is great],” British Prime Minister David Cameron responded, “This country will be absolutely resolute in its stand against violent extremism and terror.”

On Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama reacted to the brutal butchering by stating: “The United States stands resolute with the United Kingdom, our ally and friend, against violent extremism and terror.”  

Interesting that neither noticed what was going on in the Palestinian Authority this month, in the interim between the Boston bombings on April 14 and the street slaughter in Woolwich on May 22.

In the days leading up to May 15, the anniversary of the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948, the P.A. began its usual annual preparations for what it refers to as Nakba (the “catastrophe” of Israel’s birth) Day. Utilizing its official TV station, it conveyed a message to Arabs all over the country about how they should mourn and celebrate simultaneously.

“[W]e will raise the Palestinian flag at the entrance to every village and town in Palestine to declare that this land is the land of Palestine, and that the occupation will never stop us from clinging to our Palestinian national principles. We will raise the flag of Palestine at the entrance to every village and town: Jaffa, Nazareth, Haifa, Acre, Lod, and Ramle … We’ll raise the flag from lamp posts, on rooftops, at city squares, at crossroads and on traffic lights. Most important is that it be raised at the entrance to the city so that it will be clear to everyone that this is Palestine.”  [PA TV, May 12; translated and released by Palestinian Media Watch.]

Not one of the cities mentioned here is even on the negotiating table, such as it is ― or isn’t. The official P.A. media, run by Abbas and his henchmen, do not recognize the 1967 borders, as can be seen by its flags of “Palestine” that cover the entire state of Israel.

And while on the subject of national banners, this week Palestinians flew a swastika-emblazoned flag on electricity lines near a mosque in a village outside of Hebron whose civilian affairs are run by the P.A.

Kerry can keep returning to the region every few weeks with hope in his heart, and Hague can go home convinced that Israel doesn’t take the “urgency” of a two-state solution seriously enough. But it will do them no good.

This is just as well for Israelis. Every time talk of peace causes us to concede anything to the P.A., we end up getting bombed, butchered and blitzed like there’s no tomorrow.



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Ruthie Blum

 Ruthie Blum is a pull-no-punches, conservative, Israeli-American columnist for Israel Hayom,  and the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’”

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