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January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
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Secretary Kerry And ‘Confidence Building’

We were struck by the widespread criticism of Israel’s intention to officially announce new settlement construction even as it authorized the release of 26 more Palestinian terrorists as a “confidence building” measure designed to please the Palestinians.

Just how did Israel get to a place where it is cut no slack even when it accepts the notion that it must engage in “confidence building” with respect to negotiations, and even when that involves freeing murderers of women and children? It’s not just the morality of the matter but also the illogic of it.

Secretary of State Kerry has somehow persuaded Prime Minister Netanyahu that if the Palestinians are not induced to continue with negotiations they will move on to seek statehood in a compliant UN and challenge Israel in the International Court of Justice, all to Israel’s detriment.

But what has Israel gained from its prior prisoner releases? The Palestinians still refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. They still reject the notion of an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley or of a demilitarized Palestinian state. They continue to insist on the right of return for Palestinian refugees that would likely result in two Palestinian states.

In sum, Israel has gained nothing. All that has happened is that the Palestinians have gained the release of murderous cutthroats without having to make any appreciable concessions.

What is particularly infuriating is Mr. Kerry’s contention that Palestinian hardliners have to be mollified to enable Mahmoud Abbas to deal. Where is even a glimmer of the same understanding from the secretary of state when it comes to Mr. Netanyahu’s difficulties in dealing with those Israelis who oppose his policy on Palestinian prisoners and who demand no restrictions on settlements?

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