And therefore, judging by past history, this negotiation stretch will also end in an explosion, mutual or one-sided, which everybody was telling Secretary of State Kerry would happen back when he started this mess.
If that’s the case, why did Kerry, the Palestinians, and the Israeli government agree to participate in this charade for nine months?
Simple: for the pen.
A few pens, actually. First pen is a major political coup for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who managed to get the release of about 75 Palestinian murderers without violence. Hamas resorted to a kidnapping to get their guys out – Abbas is a regular Mahatma Gandhi in comparison. Clear victory for him, total loss for Israel, who will get nothing in return for forcing its most vulnerable citizens, the victims’ families, to be raped by their autistic government.
Another pen for Abbas and the Ramallah team (the “shirts” in this case, as the Israelis will be left shirtless in this match): as soon as the talks fall apart, the Palestinians hail the first cab outside, to go and seek recognition in the International Criminal Court and all the United Nations bodies, making themselves a de facto state within a week.
Next pen goes to Secretary Kerry and President Barry: while the Middle East is collapsing around their astonishingly nearsighted foreign policy, they continue to look decisive and responsible because they’ve been pushing a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement all this time. Sure, the Israelis won’t buy it, right wing pundits, Jews and non-Jews alike, won’t buy it, Congress will cry foul, but the home crowd will continue to cheer, between attempts to reach their local health insurance provider.
A nice pen goes to Netanyahu, who will maintain his domestic peace with the right wing majority in Israel, including—most urgently—within his own Likud party, which would have dumped him long ago if not for the fact that he’s the only game in town. He also gets to give away nothing and still not completely ruin Israel’s trade and research relations with the EU.
That’s some pen.
But now we find out that Kerry is refusing to let the negotiations die a natural death, despite the fact that he, Kerry, stuck a Do Not Resuscitate sign on them in June, when he put a time limit on the talks.
Why? The only thing I can think of is the Nobel prize for peace, which often goes to politicians who create new environments where Jews can be murdered. Check it out:
2012 – European Union (EU)
2009 – Barack H. Obama
2005 – Mohamed ElBaradei
2002 – Jimmy Carter
1994 – The trifecta, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin
But I’m digressing. The side benefits all the participants are getting from the negotiations, despite the fact that the central goal, a 2-state solution, remains as illusive as ever, are not necessarily a bad thing. As long as the Netanyahu negotiators don’t step over the line and give up the store (everybody is a sucker for those Nobel peace prizes), the talks offer a curiously positive measure of stability.
Kerry will do all he can to breathe new life into the “peace process,” but playing for time is a double-edged sword: the U.S. 2016 presidential primaries are starting in 2015. Before that, it’s looking more and more like the Republicans are poised to take both houses in 2014, and make it virtually impossible for the administration to ride roughshod over Israel. The longer this thing goes, the bigger the attentive, pro-Israel, right wing audience in America will be growing.
In other words, Kerry needs about a year to push some deal through – but Israel needs the same year for the process to lose all viability with American public opinion.
Meanwhile, the very stability provided by the “peace process” will encourage prosperity over on the PA side, boosting new and already existing Jewish-Arab business ventures, with the tacit cooperation of the PLO in Ramallah.
Maybe we all get to keep our pens.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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