Fun and Games With the Peace Talks
Over the past several months U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is a former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was Democratic candidate for the White House in 2004, has been beating the bushes in the Middle East. He is on a mission to resuscitate the non-existent “peace process” between Jews and Palestinians. I am naturally wondering why he is doing this. It is puzzling.
His predecessor at the State Department, the esteemed Hillary Clinton, could not be bothered. She realized that such an endeavor would have complicated and perhaps ruined her ultimate concern. Any attempt at being objective, honest and evenhanded would have resulted in a monkey-wrench being thrown into her final attempt at capturing the White House in 2016. The risk far exceeded the reward.
Indeed, for all concerned, there is no reward. Why? Because the so-called “two-state solution” is finished. Washington’s long-stated goal and the basis of any negotiations has been superannuated. The “two-state solution” was a sham from the start and is now kaput. It is no longer an option, and not just because of demographical issues, or the “realities on the ground” created by unrestricted Jewish settlements, or that key members of Netanyahu’s cabinet are openly dead-set against it.
TTSS is no longer possible for the simple reason that any leader of either side, Arab or Jew, who agreed to such a final solution would be shot by some outraged fanatic(s) in his own camp. Think about it. Remember Yitzhak Rabin? At the end of the day, no one wants to be assassinated. Ergo, no agreement will be reached. Instead, you have a Kabuki dance. Perhaps Kerry has not thought the matter through to its logical conclusion. More likely, he realizes he does not need to, because he never expects it to get that far.
The Palestinians are a subjugated people. Conquered, occupied and partly expelled. The indigenes have been driven out of Palestine to make room for the occupiers, who are Ashkenazi Jews predominately from Poland, Russia and Eastern Europe. They are not Semites. It is a long-term project. It is more than halfway concluded.
What is left of historical Palestine, the so-called West Bank, is occupied territory. The rest of Palestine is also occupied, but with a difference. It has been diplomatically recognized by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R in 1948 as being Israel, a legitimate state, the self-styled “Jewish State”. In the U.S., Harry Truman did it over the unanimous and vigorous objections of both the State and Defense Departments. So the invaders/interlopers now have sovereignty in historical Palestine.
That is a big deal. It is more than just a foothold. It has given the Zionists many advantages, almost a free hand to do what they please. Organizational terrorism by Zionists against the Palestinians (and then the British) up until 1948 segued into state terrorism and ethnic cleansing by Israel afterwards. As such, it thereby became acceptable, almost legal. In private, Kerry may appreciate this ironic, bizarre state of affairs.
Palestine is not, strictly speaking, the only place occupied and under Zionist control. This circumstance makes Kerry’s proactive attitude with respect to the “peace process” all the more perplexing. He knows he has no leverage with the gentlemen in Tel Aviv and can exert no pressure on them to do the right thing, to change their minds or mitigate their abusive conduct. Why? Because the White House and Capitol Hill are also occupied territory. The Israel Lobby owns Washington and determines its Middle East foreign policy. No serious observer can ignore that fact any longer.
John Kerry is a Washington insider; he knows how the game is played. It is impossible for Kerry to be objective, honest and evenhanded in this undertaking, anymore than Hillary Clinton could have been, even if she had wanted to. American domestic politics and the wholesale corruption of Washington prevent it from happening. Given these limitations, what can Kerry be up to? What is he actually seeking to accomplish? What is motivating him?
My best guess is that Kerry and Obama and the National Security Council are transfixed by what might happen in September in New York and thereafter. I am referring to the UN General Assembly which will convene in September. Like Kerry, the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has no leverage in negotiating with the colonial occupying power. Like Kerry, he is powerless.
At some point, it dawned on Abbas, that the so-called “peace process” was a pointless exercise and a complete waste of time. So he stopped negotiating in 2010, and played the UN Card in 2011, asking the UN Security Council to recognize Palestine as a state with full membership in the UN. A clever move, whose ramifications have yet to come to the fore.
Abbas went back to the UN last September and–over hysterical White House objections and despite behind-the-scenes threats and arm-twisting–he was able to get de facto recognition of Palestine, to wit, his little rump entity on the West Bank, as a state. On November 29th, 2012, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted 138 to 9 in favor, with 41 abstentions. Officially, it is called nonmember observer state status. The camel’s nose is definitely under the tent. What the enemies of sanity and justice are afraid of is the next step.
Abbas and the Palestinians now have something to negotiate with, where before they had nothing. Palestine representatives will be able to take part in General Assembly debates, disseminating all manner of “anti-Israel” propaganda. Since it will be coming directly from the victims themselves, these pronouncements will have greater authority. Last time Abbas addressed the General Assembly, he was greeted with a standing ovation.
So what is the next step? The real joker in the deck, which every Israel-first sycophant fears, is that Palestine will apply and be granted membership to the ICC, the International Criminal Court. At that point, Palestine can ask for protection by the court from the military occupying power and bring war crimes to the attention of the court. Can you imagine?
The multifaceted Jewish settlement activities on the West Bank and on the Syrian Golan Heights since 1967 violate the 4th Geneva Convention; moreover, the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court designates settlement activity in occupied territory as a war crime. You figure it out.
And that is where Harvard professor Samantha Power comes into the picture. What I am most concerned about in this muddle is the new American ambassador to the UN, the Irish-born Samantha Power. She will be sitting at the General Assembly in September, taking the place of the oddly arrogant Susan Rice, who has moved on to become Obama’s national security advisor. In the past, Ambassador Power correctly diagnosed Hillary Clinton to be “a monster”. That is a point in her favor, which should never be forgotten. It shows she can exercise good judgement and make objective observations.
Power’s reputation is that of a human rights crusader. She is best known as an advocate for “humanitarian intervention” in the conduct of foreign affairs, embodied in the R2P phrase, “Responsibility to Protect”. But if her reputation is to be taken seriously, I am wondering how in the world she can be expected to sit at the UN and veto efforts by the Palestinians to protect themselves from the severities of military occupation? To do so would be the apotheosis of hypocrisy and a carbon copy of stone-hearted Susan Rice at her worst.
The Samantha Power problem appeared on the radar screen of America’s “pro-Israel community” in 2002. In a public television interview, Power was asked what she might advise an American President in the hypothetical event that the conflict in Palestine degenerated into a genocidal situation.
She said that the American response might require “…a mammoth protection force…a meaningful military presence…. And putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import….” She was speculating about an international military mission to be inserted between the Palestinians and the Israelis for the purpose of protecting the civilian population living under military occupation.
What followed these provocative remarks makes quite an interesting story, best chronicled by M.J. Rosenberg in The Washington Spectator on June 11th, 2013 [Samantha Power, Another Win for the Israel Lobby] and by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in the Huffington Post on June 6th [Defending Samantha Power on Israel] and most recently by Colum Lynch in Foreign Policy on July 17th [How Michael Jackson's Rabbi Made Samantha Power Kosher].
Suffice it to say that Samantha went far out of her way to defend herself against the wild charge that she is not a card-carrying Israelist or even, in fact, a closet anti-Semite. This campaign included bursting into tears in front of her Inquisitors and pointing out to them that she is married to “…a direct descendant of the Gaon of Vilna, Rabbi Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kremer, a revered 18th century scholar and leader of the non-Hasidic Jewish community.” So there you have it.
In sum, I am suggesting that John Kerry’s frenetic efforts in the Middle East have a lot to do with Samantha Power. I think it boils down to this. He is trying to prevent Samantha (and himself) from being embarrassed at the UN come September and beyond. Logically, Samantha can’t be the world’s leading R2P advocate while at the same time not be pro-Palestinian. The contradiction is just too immense, unbridgeable and obvious. No wonder she burst into tears.
Accordingly, Kerry is trying to entice or bribe Mahmoud Abbas to throw away the UN Card, and get back to the bargaining table with the gangsters running Israel. Why Abbas should do that I can’t imagine. One thing is certain: Kerry and Obama definitely do not want the cause of Palestine brought before the altar of world opinion at the UN. Obama already looks like a fraud to his “progressive” constituencies.
At the UN venue, John Kerry and Samantha Power would come across as kingsized hypocrites in the mold of Clinton and Rice. Due to circumstances beyond their control, Kerry and Power will be required to veto, denounce, dodge and delay everything which favors Palestine. It will be most embarrassing for the United States. In fact, it might appear downright ridiculous. The charade continues.
“Fun & Games” was written on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. On Friday, July 19th, came word at the 11th hour that Kerry had achieved a breakthrough of sorts in restarting face-to-face talks. The New York Times described it as a “preliminary agreement” and Kerry dubbed it “an initial phase”.
If it was in fact a deal, there seems to be some unstated contingencies, what the Times dubbed “confidence-building” measures. Such as a release of Palestinian prisoners and “…perhaps a Palestinian agreement to postpone participation in international organizations based on the observer-state status it won at the United Nations General Assembly last fall.” Hmm.
According to Matthew Lee in an Associated Press “analysis” article on Saturday, the 20th: “For all the buzz among Kerry aides who spoke excitedly of witnessing history in the making, the airport announcement was unusually subdued and brief…. There was no pomp. there were no Israeli or Palestinian officials at his [Kerry's] side. There were no questions. And there were no details about either the framework or even the end game.”
There were a few straws in the wind. Friday’s New York Times article quoted someone named Ahmad Abbas, director of the Palestinian Authority “planning ministry” as stating in an interview, “All the big issues–Jerusalem, settlements, refugees–have been postponed until further notice…. Financially, we are going to solve our problems. We have to choose the best option among the evil ones.” Hmm. These quotes were yoked together in the article. Did Kerry dangle some serious financial carrots in front of the PA leadership, what I might call a bribe?
Most telling was a Reuters report from Jerusalem on Friday headlined “Peace talks with the Palestinians would take months: Israel official” It let the cat out of the bag. Here it is in its entirety:
(Reuters) – New Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, if resumed, would take months, an Israeli official said on Friday after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the sides had laid the groundwork for negotiations.
“We are talking about months, both to ensure the process is substantive and comprehensive, and to get us past September,” the official said, on condition of anonymity. [My emphasis.]
The official was referring to the annual U.N. General Assembly in September, where the Palestinians had, in the absence of direct diplomacy, considered lobbying for recognition of their claim of statehood in Israeli-occupied territory. [End of article.]
In sum, the current escapade is all about September, getting past September, keeping the UN sidelined and out of it, and thereby avoiding embarrassment for U.S. officials. From the U.S. perspective, it is not about promoting a just peace.
PATRICK FOY is an essayist and short story writer. He graduated from Columbia University, where he studied English literature, European history and American diplomatic history. His work can be found at www.PatrickFoyDossier.com.