Maintaining the Conflict

What would Albert Einstein say about Kerry?

Ted Belman,

OpEds Ted Belman
Ted Belman

John Kerry is insane.  At least that is what Albert Einstein would say because he keeps restarting the peace process, expecting a different result.

For any negotiation to end in an agreement, the parties to the negotiations must want an agreement at a price they are willing to pay or must need an agreement regardless of the price.

The US, EU and the UN undermine their own efforts to achieve an agreement because they ensure that the Palestinian Arabs don’t need an agreement. How? By covering the total cost of Palestinian “resistance”, including violence and incitement and because they turn a blind eye to Palestinian corruption. There is no need for the Palestinians to focus on economic development because the west will always cover the shortfall.

Nor do the Palestinians want an agreement. The Fatah Charter calls for the liberation of Palestine, by which they mean the eradication of Israel. The Hamas Charter calls for the same thing, but also calls for the destruction of the Jews. The international community could not care less.

The PA does not want a negotiated settlement because that would require compromise and the signing of an end-of-conflict agreement. This they will not do. They want the world to give them a state without the need for them to agree to peace.

John Kerry understands this and therefore seeks to get Israel to induce the PA to enter negotiations by giving them something in advance. Anything to keep the process going. The PA is happy to pocket the inducement though they have no intention of negotiating in good faith.

Last time around, PM Netanyahu was given a choice of what inducement to provide; release over 100 Palestinian  murders or institute a freeze of settlement construction in Jerusalem and east of the green line, (pre-’67 lines). He choose the former. But this wasn’t good enough for the US which also forced him to effect a de facto freeze still in place today, over 6 months after the end of the process.

There is no question that Israel both needs and wants an agreement.  But the price demanded by the international community is too high. The broad strokes of the agreement have been laid down by them: namely pre ’67 lines with some land swaps, a division of Jerusalem and sooner or later a withdrawal from the Jordan Valley.  But such a deal is not good enough for the Palestinians anyway, as they continue to demand the “right of return” and to reject recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinians will also not agree to an end-of-conflict agreement.

According to a recent poll, 75% of Israelis, not including Arab Israelis, reject a two-state solution that requires any of these things. Netanyahu is not about to defy them.

Accepting these terms would require Jews to abandon their biblical heritage and their legal rights to the land.  It would also necessitate evacuating 150,000 Israelis at a cost, estimated in excess of $100 billion. And finally, withdrawal would be an existential threat to Israel.  As we have seen time and time again, international forces are worthless. Only the IDF can and will defend Israel.

Although the US says that the conflict must be resolved by direct negotiations, it severely limits those negotiations by mandating the outcome.

Perhaps Kerry is not insane. Perhaps he is not expecting a different result but merely wants to maintain the status quo and he sees the process as the best way to do this. Maintaining the peace process enables the US to remain involved, justifies their demands of Israel for concessions and curries favor with Saudi Arabia and other Arabs states that require the US to do something.

Neither Kerry or Obama will ever admit that.  Instead, they make the ridiculous claim that the most important thing in the Middle East is to resolve the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, that it is costing the US blood and treasure and most egregiously, that it is fueling the rise of ISIS.

To enable the pretense to continue for the foreseeable future, they demand that Israel do nothing to strengthen her hold on Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria, including not building homes for Jews there or any other activity.

This is a losing proposition. The Jewish will to reconstitute its ancient homeland in Judea and Samaria, as authorized by the Mandate for Palestine, will strengthen with each passing year.

By demanding a Palestinian Arab state, the world is preventing the resolution of the conflict.

The US can simply cease this charade and focus on resolving the conflict rather than creating another Arab state.  If the US really wanted to resolve the conflict, it would allow Israel manage the conflict as it sees fit and to fashion any solution it perceives as doable.

The world is also preventing the resolution of the conflict by supporting UNRWA's perpetuation of the Arab "refugees", including their descendants, in a stateless limbo rather than resettling them as UNHCR does. Should the refugees be resettled elsewhere, it would go a long way to ending the conflict.

The world is squandering an opportunity now to solve the Gaza problem and thus contribute to resolving the conflict.  Martin Sherman, in his cogent article, Let Their People Go, argues for resettlement of Gazans rather than reconstruction of homes.

“Anybody with an iota of intellectual integrity, a minimal grasp of the facts on the ground, and a smidgen of moral concern for “the other,” must know that the only feasible solution for Gaza that can offer any realistic hope for the future, is not its RE-construction, but it’s DE-construction. [..]

“[T]he only durable solution is the dismantling of Gaza, humanitarian relocation of its non-belligerent Arab population, and extension of Israeli sovereignty over the region.”

Add to the above, the fact that the US will not let Israel destroy Hamas. Surely this prolongs the conflict.

In the last conflict, to make sure that Israeli action was constrained, the US prevented the resupply to Israel of all munitions including hell-fire missiles. It  got the FAA to put a ban on flights to Israel thereby shutting down Israel’s only international airport. The US paid lip service to Israel’s right of self-defense while at the same time accusing Israel of breaching international law for exercising it.

Throughout the attempt to get a cease fire agreement, the US kept favoring terms that would benefit Hamas. Israel and Eqypt rejected these attempts and achieved a ceasefire in which no promises to Hamas were given. But thereafter the US continued to pressure Israel to change its policy toward Hamas and Gaza. It appears they were successful because Israel, in the last two weeks, has done a 180 degree turn-around, accepts the unification between Hamas and the PA and is lifting restrictions on the flow of dual-use supplies.

By every measure, US policies with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict perpetuate it rather than resolve it.