Secretary of State John Kerry, after meeting with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas in London, said that “a final status agreement [between the Israelis and the Palestinians] is important in enhancing regional security and stability throughout the Middle East” (‘Kerry pledges to peace talks during Abbas meeting,’ Breitbart, September 9, 2013).
“Secretary Kerry’s statement is utter nonsense. If the history of recent years — and indeed of the entire 65-year long period of the Arab war on Israel — has made one thing clear, it is that the lack of a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is manifestly not the cause of the Middle East’s conflicts, violence and bloodshed.
In fact, it is totally unrelated and irrelevant to the present violence and conflict in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. If Israel didn’t exist, the same problems between and within Arab countries would still exist.
Consider: The Syrian regime of Bashar Assad has killed approximately one hundred thousand people in a war with Sunni Islamist rebels, who have also slaughtered tens of thousands. Massive instability and brutal violence is afflicting Egypt. Yemen has been wracked by internal conflict and thousands have been killed. Libya has become a jungle of jihadist warriors since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. In Iraq, over 5,000 people have been slaughtered in virtually daily suicide bombings just this year. Thousands of Christians have been murdered and many dozens of churches destroyed in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere. Not one of these conflicts has anything to do with the Israeli/Palestinian Arab issue.
Historically, the war waged by Arabs on Israel has had little to do with the numerous other conflagrations besetting the region.
In the 1950s, it had no bearing on the Algerian war.
In the 1960s, it had no bearing on the Egyptian invasion of Yemen, or the bloody emergence of the Ba’athist dictatorship in Iraq, or the Aden (now Yemen) Emergency in which hundreds were killed in violence.
In the 1970s, it had nothing to do with the Libyan-Chad war.
In the 1980s, it had nothing to do with the Iran-Iraq war, in which over a million people were killed.
In the 1990s, it had nothing to do with Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait — though Saddam Hussein absurdly linked them.
(A personal note: I was among heads of American Jewish organizations flown to Qatar in the late 1990s by the Emir of Qatar, who pleaded with us to urge the U.S. Congress to protect Qatar from a feared Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates invasion. This feared conflict — in which Arabs appealed to pro-Israel Jews for help — had nothing to do with Israel).
Why is the Obama Administration continuing to repeat false, ridiculous and discredited ideas invented by Israel’s vicious enemies?
It is not in the national interests of the United States for American officials to go around the world falsely stating that the “Arab-Israeli conflict” (which is actually, purely and simply, an Arab war on Israel’s very existence) is the core of the Middle East’s problems and that solving it is the key to regional stability. Not only is it not the core, it isn’t even a factor.
First, it is nonsense.
Second, obtaining an Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement, even if one could, would not solve other regional problems, which are rooted in the region’s ideological and religious pathologies.
Third, the mis-focus on the Israeli/Palestinian divide skews American priorities — as it is doing right now. How can Secretary Kerry make such an absurd statement when Syria is exploding and the region is wracked by violence and instability due to nothing connected to Israel or the Palestinians?
The alleged Israeli/Palestinian “peace process” has become an obsessive fetish which squanders American resources, credibility and standing. Why should the U.S. talk up a bogus peace process that is not going to deliver? Why should it accept the blame for the inevitable failure?
President Obama should publicly repudiate Secretary Kerry’s ludicrous statement.
Morton A. Klein is the National President of the Zionist Organization of American (ZOA).
Morton A. Klein