by Yoram Ettinger
Apparently, Kerry takes lightly the failure of the Palestinian leadership to pass any of the crucial tests of its commitment to peaceful coexistence
The term "suspension of disbelief" refers to the well-intentioned subordination of documented facts and common sense to zeal and wishful thinking, sacrificing long-term realism on the altar of oversimplification and short-term gratification and convenience.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's Dec. 28 speech was replete with suspension of disbelief and totally inconsistent with the reality in the Middle East. But it was consistent with his 31-year foreign policy track record.
Kerry was the top frequent-flying senator to Damascus, allowing his own idyllic vision of the globe and his hosts' duplicitous rhetoric to cloud reality. He contended that first Hafez Assad and then Bashar Assad -- two of the most ferocious, cold-blooded dictators in the world -- were constructive leaders, referring to Bashar Assad as a generous reformer and a man of his word, even while the Syrian president was terrorizing his people and facilitating the infiltration into Iraq of Islamic terrorists whose aim was to murder Americans.
In his 1997 book "The New War," Kerry demonstrated an inclination to dismiss the writing on the wall when in conflict with wishful thinking: "Terrorist organizations with specific political agendas may be encouraged and emboldened by Yasser Arafat's transformation from outlaw to statesman."
In March 2011, Kerry stated: "My judgment is that Syria will move, Syria will change as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the U.S. and the West." Indeed, Syria has changed. But, contrary to Kerry's assessment, not in a good way, with hundreds of thousands of people killed and millions displaced and made refugees.
In 2012, Kerry contended that the Arab Street was transitioning toward democracy, "the most important geo-strategic shift since the fall of the Berlin Wall." He referred to the Arab uprisings as an "Arab Spring" and to the regime changes in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen as youth and Facebook revolutions. Kerry supported regime change in Libya, which has transformed Libya into a leading global platform of Islamic terrorism.
Kerry's road map to peace has stumbled over some critical pitfalls that he has refused to see.
In his latest speech, Kerry maintained that the crux of the failure to conclude a peace agreement has been lack of trust, saying: "Negotiations [between Israel and the Palestinian Authority] did not fail because gaps were too wide, but because the level of trust was too low."
Apparently, Kerry takes lightly the failure of the Palestinian leadership to pass any of the crucial tests of its commitment to peaceful coexistence -- in 1993 (Oslo Accords), 2000 (Prime Minister Ehud Barak's unprecedented proposals) and 2005 (the uprooting of all Jewish settlements from Gaza) -- by responding to unparalleled Israeli territorial and diplomatic concessions with a dramatic escalation of hate education and terrorism. The Palestinians' notorious hate education and incitement have resulted in an effective production line of terrorists, and are the most authentic reflection of the Palestinian strategic goal.
Contrary to Kerry's observation, the crux of the failure has been the inherent nature of the Palestinian leadership, highlighted by its long-term track record from the 19th century until today: from waves of anti-Jewish terrorism through the collaborations with Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and East European Communist regimes, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, Iraq's Saddam Hussein, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Islamic, Asian, African, European and Latin American terror organizations.
While Palestinian leaders are welcome by the U.S. State Department with a "red carpet," Arab leaders welcome them with "shabby rugs" in response to the Palestinian violent back-stabbing of Arab hosts (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and, most painfully, Kuwait in 1990).
Kerry stated that "the two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians" and that the U.N. vote "was about preserving the two-state solution" and was in accordance with U.S. values.
However, the track record of the Palestinian leadership certifies that a Palestinian state would be another rogue, violent regime, undermining U.S. values and national security, adding fuel to the regional fire, constituting a lethal threat to the vulnerable pro-U.S. Hashemite regime in Jordan -- with potential spillover into Saudi Arabia and the pro-U.S. Gulf states -- undermining stability in Egypt, upgrading the potential of a pro-ayatollah bloc from Teheran to Ramallah, providing port facilities to the Russian (and possibly Chinese and Iranian) navy in the Eastern Mediterranean, and adding another anti-U.S. vote at the already anti-U.S. United Nations.
Once again, Kerry is attempting to scare the Jewish state into reckless concessions, implying that the only way to preserve a Jewish majority is by conceding Jewish geography (the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria). Once again, he was restating inauthentic, manipulated Palestinian statistics, and ignoring the demographic reality in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel: a growing 66% Jewish majority, unprecedented Westernization of the Arab population, and a robust Jewish demographic (fertility and net-migration).
Kerry also misled the public when he claimed that U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 "called for the withdrawal of Israel from territory that it occupied in 1967 in return for peace and secure borders." Kerry failed to indicate that this resolution did not stipulate "all the territories"; that Israel had already complied with the resolution by conceding 90% of the territory when it evacuated the entire Sinai Peninsula; and that Israel fought a pre-emptive defensive war in 1967. He failed to mention that in 1988 Jordan waived its claim to sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (which was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan); and that Israel possesses the best legal title over the area based on Articles 77 and 80 of the U.N. Charter, which upholds the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which aimed to establish a Jewish national home.
While Kerry attempts to coax Israel into reliance on security arrangements and guarantees, he fails to indicate that such tools are characterized by non-specificity, non-automaticity and ample escape routes that may doom Israel on a rainy day. The NATO treaty does not commit the U.S. to anything more than considering steps on behalf of an attacked NATO member "as it deems necessary." In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower concluded a defense treaty with Taiwan, which was annulled by President Jimmy Carter with the support of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The U.S.'s and Israel's national security, and the pursuit of peace, require a long-term, tenacious commitment to realism, not oversimplification, short-term convenience and suspension of disbelief. The critical errors of the past have doomed a litany of well-meaning peace initiatives.
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