Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Despite Washington Denial - Kerry Failed Miserably

Secretary of State John Kerry spent most of last week in the Middle East trying to arrange a cease fire and possibly a peace agreement between Israel and Hamas. It failed miserably. In fact, Israel not only rejected Kerry's deal but said that Kerry, for some reason, was favoring Hamas in the deal - basically giving them everything while Israel got nothing.

Kerry is being lambasted by the Israeli press. On Monday, Israel HaYom, a Sheldon Adelson-owned free daily, published the following from Prof. Ron Breiman on its English-language Web site.

"Like a blind person groping for the ladder to climb down from the roof but instead falling down the chimney, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the government he represents have not missed an opportunity to step in all the Middle Eastern potholes along their way. Kerry is imbued with good will, but this is not enough. Kerry and U.S. President Barack Obama suffer from a misunderstanding of reality in our region, as well as in other parts of the world."

The Times of Israel, a Web site that boasts of its independent politics, posted the following: "Despite the tendency to criticize US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts, credit should be given where credit is due. Over the weekend, Kerry did manage to facilitate something in the Middle East: unparalleled unanimity."

"Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan were all in agreement that Kerry’s efforts were undermining the attempt to bring about a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as quickly as possible. Moreover, Kerry’s framework and the ideas he presented led to an extraordinary phone call taking place between a senior Palestinian Authority official and an Israeli counterpart, during which the two mocked the senior diplomat’s naivete and his failure to understand the regional reality."

And maybe the most hard-hitting criticism came from columnist Ari Shavit in Monday's Haaretz, Israel's leading liberal newspaper. "In trying to implement the cease-fire over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything. Very senior officials in Jerusalem described the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a 'strategic terrorist attack.'"

The Obama administration is not sitting quietly while Kerry (and the administration in general) is being criticized. The State Department's Jen Psaki, a piece of work in her own right, said "It's simply not the way partners and allies treat each other." Maybe Ms. Psaki should take a look at the way President Obama has treated that same partner and ally over the last 5-1/2 years.

Obama's Propaganda Minister... uh, National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, said the "U.S. was dismayed by mischaracterizations of Kerry's efforts." I'm guessing it won't be long before she announces that the criticism of Kerry was caused by a video...

On TV last night, Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters (USA-Ret) said there are two problems with John Kerry trying to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Hamas. First, Peters believes Kerry sees Hamas not as a terrorist organization (as his own State Department has them listed) but as freedom fighters for the Palestinians. And second, when Kerry sits down with all sides to help negotiate a deal, Peters said, "Kerry is not the smartest guy in the room." I think that about sums it up.

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