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Friday, August 1, 2014

Charles Krauthammer, "Clueless in Gaza": Is Only Kerry to Blame?

How much sooner would ceasefire negotiations have begun if Kerry had not intervened on the side of Hamas? How many lives might have been saved if Kerry had merely stayed away? We will probably never know the answers.

Over the past two weeks, there have been devastating attacks on John Kerry by Israeli journalists from both left and right, who were outraged by the US secretary of state's proposed ceasefire, which:

  • Capitulated to Hamas's demands;
  • Appointed Qatar and Turkey, the principal backers of Hamas, as mediators;
  • Humiliated Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

When the Israeli government refused to accept Kerry's terms of surrender, the US State Department and the West Wing went into overdrive mode, excoriating Israel for its criticism of Kerry. In addition, Obama ordered Netanyahu over the phone to agree to an immediate unilateral ceasefire, while informing the Israeli prime minister that he was not in a position to choose the mediators.

However, the Obama administration was soon to learn that it wasn't only Israel that was questioning the competence of Kerry. Obama and friends would soon wake up to a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "John Kerry’s big blunder in seeking an Israel-Gaza cease-fire" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-john-kerrys-big-blunder-in-seeking-an-israel-gaza-cease-fire/2014/07/28/ab3fbfd2-1686-11e4-9349-84d4a85be981_story.html?hpid=z2#) by David Ignatius, a friend of the White House, who observed:

"Kerry’s error has been to put so much emphasis on achieving a quick halt to the bloodshed that he has solidified the role of Hamas, the intractable, unpopular Islamist group that leads Gaza, along with the two hard-line Islamist nations that are its key supporters, Qatar and Turkey. In the process, he has undercut not simply the Israelis but also the Egyptians and the Fatah movement that runs the Palestinian Authority, all of which want to see an end to Hamas rule in Gaza."

Today, Charles Krauthammer is also telling us that Kerry made a mess of things. In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Clueless in Gaza" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-clueless-in-gaza/2014/07/31/d781a286-18e8-11e4-9e3b-7f2f110c6265_story.html), Krauthammer writes:

"John Kerry is upset by heavy criticism from Israelis — left, right and center — of his recent cease-fire diplomacy. But that’s only half the story. More significant is the consternation of America’s Arab partners, starting with the president of the Palestinian Authority. Mahmoud Abbas was stunned that Kerry would fly off to Paris to negotiate with Hamas allies Qatar and Turkey in talks that excluded the PA and Egypt.

. . . .

It gets worse. Kerry did not just trample an Egyptian initiative. It was backed by the entire Arab League and specifically praised by Saudi Arabia. With the exception of Qatar — more a bank than a country — the Arabs are unanimous in wanting to see Hamas weakened, if not overthrown. The cease-fire-in-place they backed would have denied Hamas any reward for starting this war, while what Kerry brought back from Paris granted practically all of its demands."

Krauthammer concludes:

"Whatever his intent, Kerry legitimized Hamas’s war criminality. Which makes his advocacy of Hamas’s terms not just a strategic blunder — enhancing a U.S.-designated terrorist group just when a wall-to-wall Arab front wants to see it gone — but a moral disgrace."

However, Krauthammer does not say whether Obama is also responsible for this fiasco. Are we really to understand that Kerry was acting in renegade fashion without the knowledge of the president?

Given the transcript (albeit a translation from English to Hebrew and then back to English) of Obama's telephone conversation with Netanyahu, Obama must share in the blame. As I have observed many times over the past five and a half years, Obama is no friend of Israel, and yes, the content of the transcript is real.

Meanwhile, Hamas has now agreed to discuss a ceasefire in Cairo, based upon the original Egyptian proposal, i.e. the discussions do not require Israel to remove its forces from Gaza. In addition, as reported by Khaled Abu Toameh writing for The Jerusalem Post in an article entitled "Cairo denies Hamas an audience without Fatah umbrella" (http://www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/No-Hamas-members-allowed-in-ceasefire-talks-unless-with-Fatah-says-Egypt-369633):

"The Egyptian authorities have refused to receive any Hamas representative unless part of a Fatah-led delegation entrusted with conducting discussions on ways of ending the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

. . . .

The paper said that the Egyptians have insisted that any deal on the Gaza Strip include the return of PA security forces to the Rafah border crossing with Sinai as a precondition for opening it for humanitarian aid.

Cairo’s stance coincided with the Egyptian army’s resumption of the destruction of smuggling tunnels along the border with the Gaza Strip."

Bottom line: American foreign policy is in a shambles, and Obama would be doing the world a favor by sending the vainglorious Kerry back to Beacon Hill.

3 comments:

  1. First the IRS runs 'routine' audits on nearly all US citizens living in Israel. Then the FAA mandates a ban on all US and EU flights to and from Israel. Now, the US Embassy in Tel-Aviv has stopped processing visas for Israelis altogether as well as American Citizen services. (Need your US passport renewed? Sorry, your SOL).
    http://israel.usembassy.gov/visas.html
    Is it just me or does anyone else sense a pattern of targeted discrimination here?
    Strangely, the 'current security situation', has never led to the suspension of visa issuances in Kiev, Baghdad or Cairo.
    What's next? a 'J' stamp in my US passport?

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  2. So, no visas for Israelis and Americans, but welcome, welcome, welcome ... whom exactly ... Hamas, ISIS, and of course all the illegals from the South, including again Hamas, ISIS
    Is it me or something/someone is ... mad?
    Orwell, we need you NOW.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If I were American I'd seriously consider returning my US passport. What value is US nationality when the US President's conduct becomes a badge of shame?

    ReplyDelete