What Kerry Should Have Said

When Sec. of State John Kerry delivered his comprehensive statement on the Arab-Israel conflict in front of a safe audience at the State Department, he took over an hour to defend the decision of the United States to in essence allow passage of the recent UN anti-Israel resolution by abstaining from it, rather than adhering to the long standing policy of the US to veto such resolutions.

The general thrust of his message was to chastise Israel for building “settlements” on land defined as “occupied Palestinian territory,” as the main obstacle preventing a two-state solution.

In addition to focusing attention on criticizing Israel Kerry failed to mention some critically important points which are clearly more central to why a two state solution has failed to materialize.

For example, the most obvious is the fact that Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, who is also seen by most of the world as a moderate, has steadfastly said he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. As I see it, this alone is the single biggest non-starter for a two state solution. While Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s  consistent commitment to accepting a Palestinian state, demonstrates his desire for mutual recognition, Mr. Kerry conveniently omitted Abbas’s destructive statements on refusing to accept Israel’s right to exist.

How realistic is a two state solution when one side won’t even recognize the other’s right to exist?

Mr. Kerry emphatically stated the US opposition to terror and incitement. However, empty statements like this have been made on numerous occasions by the American administration. What good are such statements if they are not backed up by tangible action?

The PA receives hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid from many countries, most of it from the US. The PA in turn uses a portion of international aid to line the pockets of terrorists who have murdered Israeli’s with huge salaries. This financial windfall allows their families a living standard which is 5 times greater than the average Palestinian. Did Mr. Kerry say or even hint that the US would suspend all financial aid to the PA to demonstrate how strongly they feel about the need to stop terrorism? He did not. Actions speak louder than words Mr. Kerry.

The constitution of Abbas’s Fatah party explicitly calls for the destruction of the “Zionist entity,” which in plain words means Israel. Did Mr. Kerry make any mention of this? Moreover, one can only imagine what he might say if Israel’s constitution called for the destruction of a Palestinian state. Heaven forbid!

The official emblem of the Fatah party shows one state, not two. The one state covers the entire area of Israel, and shows every square inch of land as one state of “Palestine.” Their emblem also includes weapons of war, suggesting their goal is to destroy Israel through violence. Again Kerry is silent.

If Mahmoud Abbas wants to be seen as a serious peace partner, would it be too much to suggest that he publically condemn the plethora of terror attacks the Palestinians have perpetrated against innocent Israeli civilians? Not only has Abbas failed to condemn such attacks, he and his party have continuously glorified these murderers.

Kerry also downplayed the US role in the anti-Israel UN resolution, suggesting the US was not involved in composing, or sponsoring it. Yet, by abstaining the Obama administration knows full well, it was as if they voted for it, because they chose not to use their veto power, which allowed it to pass.

With its passing the Obama administration has intentionally left the door wide open for the UN to take further action against Israel.  

With only days remaining in the current administration, the timing of Kerry’s speech was more about punctuating the anti-Israel tenor of the Obama administration with one last trumpet blast about land for peace. However, all one needs to do is look at what happened when Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip after 38 years. They were rewarded with 3 wars and 20,000 rockets.

If the Obama administration is truly as concerned about Israel’s security as Kerry states, their failure to hold the Palestinians accountable for their wanton terror renders any statements about understanding Israel’s need for security meaningless.

Since the UN resolution cannot be reversed, the Obama administration has knowingly done two things-
1. They have put the incoming Trump administration in a difficult position.
2. Obama has placed a nail in the coffin of his relationship with Israel. With the door now open for further punitive UN action against Israel, his administration will go down in history has the most anti-Israel administrations ever.

One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to recognize the two sides of the conflict have entirely different agendas. Israel desires to have peace, while the Arab Palestinians goal remains p-i-e-c-e, every piece of the land of Israel to be theirs. For not recognizing this and blaming Israel for being the obstacle to peace, the Obama administration has reduced itself to being hypocrites by ignoring their own oft stated commitment to Israel’s security.