John Kerry, our secretary of state, is very angry with Israel. “Poof,” he said on Tuesday — describing how Israel destroyed his “peace process” the other week. Just like that.
The first thing to say is that if a peace process can go “poof,” it can’t have been much of a peace process. Any serious discussion in which two parties are motivated to reach a negotiated arrangement wouldn’t be susceptible to going up in smoke all at once.
That would indicate it never had any form or substance to begin with.
And how on Earth was it Israel that made Kerry’s fantasy deal go “poof”? After all, it sure looked like the key moment that tossed Kerry’s “peace process” onto the dung heap of history was last week’s Palestinian decision to seek membership as a sovereign country in international organizations — a move that’s always been universally seen as complete rejection of negotiating a “two-state solution.”
Not according to Kerry, who apparently sees it as a justifiable response by the Palestinians to unconscionable Israeli actions.
In Kerry’s telling, the first death blow came when the Israeli government refused to release 26 murderous terrorists from its jails.
He neglected to mention, of course, that Israel had already freed 78 terrorists as part of the Kerry “peace process” — including a vicious monster who bashed in a 72-year-old Holocaust survivor’s head and is now living on a $100,000 stipend from the Palestinian Authority.
The decision to let that man, and his fellow slaughterers of innocents go free created nothing less than a moral and existential panic inside Israel last year, but the Netanyahu government went ahead with it anyway as a goodwill gesture toward Kerry.
No matter, in the eyes of our secretary of state. That all happened last summer. What have you done for me lately, Bibi?
Well, here’s something Bibi did for him lately. According to the Israeli government, it halted the release specifically because it wanted the peace talks to continue — it wanted the Palestinians to guarantee they would extend discussions past the April 30 deadline, since it was clear that no agreement would be reached by then.
The Palestinian side refused to do so, a clear sign that it was only remaining as a party to the talks to get those last 26 killers out of jail before it bolted — probably saying whatever the Arabic equivalent of “So long, suckers” would be.
According to Kerry, the second Israeli offense was to announce new permits for apartment construction in a neighborhood called Gilo.
Here’s how he put it: “The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day — and then 700 units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof.”
Note how Kerry unconsciously gave the game away here. He said the “units” approved were in “Jerusalem.” Not on the “West Bank.” Not in the “occupied territories.”
In Jerusalem. Israel’s capital.
Let me tell you about Gilo. It’s an area every single remotely sane person on Earth knows would remain a part of Israel under any true peace deal with the Palestinians.
When I say everybody, I mean everybody. John Kerry knows Gilo will be part of Israel. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas knows Gilo will be part of Israel. The only way Gilo won’t remain part of Israel is if Israel ceases to exist. Which may be the point.
There is no visible boundary between Gilo and Jerusalem. Gilo is the southwestern tip of Jerusalem. It’s 10 miles closer to Jerusalem’s center than Co-op City is to Times Square — or almost exactly the distance from Park Slope to Wall Street.
Unquestionably, the approval of the apartment permits was provocative (in the bizarre context of these talks, anyway), although Israel has never agreed to any limit to its right to build anywhere in Jerusalem.
But if the negotiations had been serious, if the Palestinians were really looking at them as though they could lead to a final agreement on the contours of a state, Abbas and his team wouldn’t have let the talks go “poof” over the new permits.
These talks mean nothing to them; they’ve done nothing to advance negotiations in all these months. They’ve moved on nothing, agreed to nothing, made no goodwill gestures toward Israel or the United States.
And Kerry? He’s basically fine with this. He’s full of understanding. He understands it would be difficult for Mahmoud Abbas to acknowledge Israel as a “Jewish state,” so he doesn’t act as though Abbas’ refusal to do so says anything about Abbas’ viability as a negotiating partner.
Abbas’ recalcitrance should’ve told John Kerry everything he needed to know.
But Kerry doesn’t want to know. What he wants is a Nobel Peace Prize he’s never going to get.
That’s why he started this ludicrous process in the first place — to secure himself a consolation trophy after his humiliating defeat at the hands of George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential race.
Now, here is John Kerry’s monument: By going after a deal he couldn’t get to satisfy his own wounded pride and fulfill his own vainglorious wants, he has been exposed for all to see as a deceitful, pompous, self-righteous and vindictive fool — not to mention a world-historical two-time loser.