Thursday, December 29, 2016

Kerry Joins Obama in Israel Pile-On

Kerry prepares, and conceals, a bed of nails
Source: Israel Hayom

In Parting Shot, Kerry Tears into Israel over Settlements
- Josh Lederman and Matthew Daly

In a farewell speech, Kerry deviat[ed] from the traditional U.S. message that foreign powers shouldn't impose a solution.

Most of his speech focused on Israel, and he said the two-state solution was "now in serious jeopardy." Yet he offered fewer details about how to get to such a deal, given the failure of so many previous attempts, including his own nine-month effort that collapsed in 2014. 
(AP-Washington Post)

Kerry Denounced by Lawmakers in Both Parties - Jonathan Martin

Secretary of State John Kerry's rebuke of the Israeli government set off a wave of criticism from lawmakers in both parties. Republicans denounced what they said was the Obama administration's harsh treatment of a steadfast ally and Democrats signaled that they were uneasy with Kerry's pressure on Israel. 

(New York Times)

It's Not the Settlements - Rick Richman

Immediately after the UN voted last week to vilify Israel, Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security advisor, held a conference call to argue that the Obama administration was motivated by its "grave concerns" about "the continued pace" of Israeli settlement activities.

Rhodes said, "Since 2009, the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank has increased by more than 100,000."

The figure of 100,000 sounds significant until you realize that 80% of it has been in the settlement blocs "everyone knows" Israel will retain in any conceivable peace agreement.

The 20,000 person increase east of the separation barrier translates into less than 1% of the population in the disputed territories over a period of eight years. The vast majority of Israeli settlement activity has been within settlement blocs that no one can realistically expect Israel to dismantle.

During the Bush administration, the U.S. and Israel agreed on a formula for settlements: building could continue within the boundaries of existing settlements, but not outside them, so that construction would not affect the amount of land available for a Palestinian state, which was more than 90% of the disputed territories.

It was the Obama administration that reneged on that agreement in 2009 and made an issue out of something that had already been resolved.

Kerry's Rage Against Israel - Editorial

Israelis remember that they elected leaders - Yitzhak Rabin in 1992, Ehud Barak in 1999, Ehud Olmert in 2006 - who made repeated peace overtures to the Palestinians, only to be met with violence and rejection. Israelis also remember that Netanyahu ordered a settlement freeze, and that also brought peace no closer.

The lesson is that Jewish settlements are not the main obstacle to peace. If they were, Gaza would be on its way to becoming the Costa Rica of the Mediterranean. The obstacle is Palestinian rejection of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state in any borders. A Secretary of State who wishes to resolve the conflict could have started from that premise, while admonishing the Palestinians that they will never get a state so long as its primary purpose is the destruction of its neighbor.
(Wall Street Journal)

Obama's Betrayal of Israel Must Not Stand - Editorial

Fortunately, the bipartisan uproar sparked by Obama's UN decision provides an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to rally around a more constructive policy. They should start by agreeing to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That would provide a powerful reaffirmation to Israel of the U.S.' enduring commitment. In the choice between terror and peace, and democracy and repression, there can be no room for impartiality, let alone abstention. 

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