An opening for Israeli-Palestinian peace?

posted at 2:31 pm on February 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Daniel Freedman thinks so, and even credits the Arab Spring — in a kind of backhand manner.  In yesterday’s New York Daily News, Freedman notes that incoming Secretary of State John Kerry has pledged to make Israeli-Palestinian peace talks a high priority, a traditional pledge that goes back for decades at Foggy Bottom.  Kerry has Barack Obama making his first state visit to Israel, though, and Freedman believes that an opening might exist:

One of the difficulties for those looking to maneuver Hamas into accommodation with Israel has been Iran’s patronage of Hamas. Iran had no interest in the group being anything other than leverage it could use against the West.

Today is different because unlike Iran, Hamas’ new patrons — Turkey, Egypt and Qatar — are in fact U.S. allies, with many shared interests. Turkey is a fellow NATO member, Qatar hosts U.S. Central Command in the region and the U.S. has substantial economic, military and diplomatic ties with Egypt.

They also all have incentives to play the mature peacemaker. Egypt needs to calm Western fears about the Muslim Brotherhood; Turkey needs to show that resuming its regional leadership role isn’t a threat to historical rivals; and Qatar’s efforts to sell itself as a positive force in the region and attract the West’s top universities and companies will only be helped by pushing peace.

If they choose to use it (as they did to force the ceasefire), the three have serious leverage over Hamas. Qatar, for instance, has pledged $400 million in aid to Gaza for development. It could get reversed. Egypt controls Gaza’s only non-Israel border. It can determine what goes into and out of the country. Turkey has been using its credibility on the Sunni street in support of Hamas’ present leadership. That could end.

The problem for me in this analysis is that two of these three players have grown more radical over the last two or three years.  Turkey has embraced Islamist politics, turning its back on Kemal Atatturk’s relentlessly secular vision of Turkish government, and Egypt speaks for itself.  It may be true that these are primarily Sunni versions of Islamism, but that’s not necessarily a large improvement over Iran’s Shi’ite version.  They may be friendlier to the West than Iran, but that position is an artifact of earlier, less Islamist governments.  We’ve noted Mohamed Morsi’s unedited thoughts on Israel and the Jews on more than one occasion.   These don’t exactly build confidence in Freedman’s hypothesis.

Still, all three want to do business with the West, and at least Turkey and Qatar knows that means a grudging acceptance of Israel’s place in the region — for now.  And they also know it means trying to get Hamas to put on a better face, at least, to take the pressure off:

In the Middle East, peace has repeatedly failed partly because radicals threatened to destroy anyone who dealt with Israel. What’s going on today, in the battle over the future of the Arab Spring, is a war between those who want to be part of the international system and those bent on overthrowing it.

Iran is in the latter camp — and until now, moderate Palestinians never had any powers in their corner. Until now.

I’m still not convinced that this is a meaningful change rather than a change in rhetoric, if even that, given Morsi’s recent history.  That doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try, and Obama must believe the same thing, or else he wouldn’t bother with the trip to Israel at this point.  He needs to assuage Israelis ahead of any negotiations in order to smooth the path for whatever concessions Obama and Kerry will demand.  Don’t expect much out of the effort, though, as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood didn’t get to this point just to concede on Israel’s legitimacy and existence.

On the other hand, what if Kerry pulls the rabbit out of the hat and actually succeeds within weeks of taking the job?  What exactly will that mean for the legacy of his predecessor at State?  It would tend to highlight the remarkable lack of accomplishment in Hillary Clinton’s tenure, would it not?


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Peace comes after the nukes fall…….not sooner.

Well that fake peace when Obama stands in the temple. :-)

PappyD61 on February 18, 2013 at 2:37 PM

On the other hand, what if Kerry pulls the rabbit out of the hat and actually succeeds within weeks of taking the job? What exactly will that mean for the legacy of his predecessor at State?

I doubt the chances are high enough to keep Hillary up from her nightly vodka-induced slumber.

I’ll also maintain that the chances are reliant not on how radical the Islamists in power are, but how conservative the leadership in Israel is. For any “peace” agreements to proceed, Israel needs a government willing to roll over, since none of the other parties involved are interested in anything other than that. As long as Netanyahu is in good health physically and politically, that won’t happen. God bless that man.

Gingotts on February 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

There isn’t any peace to be had because the Arabs don’t want any peace. You can only negotiate a peace accord if BOTH sides want one.

sharrukin on February 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Perfect picture :)

Dear leader to get Israeli medal…. for what?

Via politico

cmsinaz on February 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Look out Israel, any/everyone around bho does not have your back!

Me thinks Bibi is way smarter than to fall for kerry or anyone around bho that wants anything! kerry is hagel light and has the rop type countries/citizens ahead of Israel, IMO.

God be with you Israel.
L

letget on February 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

There will never be peace in the mid-east.

Blake on February 18, 2013 at 2:39 PM

The door is wide-open for “change” in Israel.

It’s already been made public that Israel is awarding Zero with its Medal of Distinction, for his work in contributing to the security of Israel.

With Obama and, now, Hagel, Israel need never fear for its security, again.

“Forward,” Israel.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

John Kerry’s declaration that he intends to renew the push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians received a predictable roll of the eyes from diplomats around the world.

Many talented secretary of state predecessors failed at this mission. Nor could the timing seemingly be worse: Hamas rules Gaza, while Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government is in office in Jerusalem.
==========

Good Luck,me thinks DOA with Bi Bi!!

canopfor on February 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

It would tend to highlight the remarkable lack of accomplishment in Hillary Clinton’s tenure, would it not?

Probably not. The narrative would be that Hillary set John Kerry up for the spike.

WashJeff on February 18, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Horse Face and Dog Eater riding in to save the day.

Yeah, ok, sure.

I can’t think of two more unqualified fools who would actually try and reach a solution to such a convoluted problem. My little chickadee of a daughter could come up with a better plan, and write it in glitter-marker no less.

Bishop on February 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM

On the other hand, what if Kerry pulls the rabbit out of the hat and actually succeeds within weeks of taking the job? What exactly will that mean for the legacy of his predecessor at State? It would tend to highlight the remarkable lack of accomplishment in Hillary Clinton’s tenure, would it not?

We can hope he does. The civilans on both sides of the line — especially the Israeli side — would be able to feel much less like targets.

That would be good.

unclesmrgol on February 18, 2013 at 2:47 PM


Hmmm……

Op-Ed: John Kerry at State: Disaster for Israel
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 2:01 PM
***********************************

John Kerry’s leadership at State will be the beginning of a new effort by the Obama Administration to pressure Israel to surrender territory to the Palestinian Authority- for starters.

President Obama’s decision to choose Senator John Kerry as his next Secretary of State and its approval by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will prove to be a disaster for Israel.

The second-term congressman did not mince words when describing the hardship that Gaza residents are facing in the aftermath of the Israeli attack, or in addressing Israel directly on what actions ought to be taken to ease the suffering. “I come here with one message only,” he told the audience: “Open up the crossings, open up the crossings, open up the crossings.” Later in his speech, Ellison once again chose the triple-repetition technique when calling on Israel to “stop, stop, stop the settlement expansion.”

Kerry provided Ellison with the cover he needed for his verbal onslaught against Israeli settlements.

At the Democratic Convention in 2012 Kerry ignored the decision of his party leadership to remove Jerusalem from their platform and instead opened his podium speech by attacking Romney for his “neo-con advisors” and then proceeded to quote Benjamin Netanyahu out of context.

[See http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2012/sep/13/john-kerry/john-kerry-says-netanyahu-praised-us-israel-relati/ and for the full speech see http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/john-kerry-full-speech-dnc-17178260.

We all know what Kerry meant when he said “neo-cons” – it is code speak for pro-Zionists. Kerry’s words show that he will be hostile to the very existence of Israeli towns in the suburbs of Jerusalem. Democrats consider these “settlements” to be part of the “Occupied West Bank”and he will label them as such.

John Kerry’s leadership at State will be the beginning of a new effort by the Obama Administration to pressure Israel to surrender territory to the Palestinian Authority, deny Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem, negotiate with Hamas and accept a hostile Palestinian State along its vulnerable borders.

Israel and its American supporters are in for a very tough time with Kerry and they seem to have no idea.
(More……)
============

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/12798#.USKEhPKG6So

canopfor on February 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM

The reason it’s not worth a try is that Obama won’t squander his political capital on a Sisyiphean task. He’ll just behave in desultory fashion and end up throwing Kerry under the bus or blaming Israel.

Seth Halpern on February 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Turkey, Egypt and Qatar — are in fact U.S. allies

Ten thousand comedians out of work and the New York Daily News has one int their midst.

RickB on February 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM

what if Kerry pulls the rabbit out of the hat and actually succeeds within weeks of taking the job?

Every 3 minutes there is almost another peace agreement, until there isn’t

Every president has the honor of pretending that they can solve this fight, but nobody can

As long as you teach your kids to blow up other people, there won’t be any peace in that region

OrthodoxJew on February 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Hamas’ new patrons — Turkey, Egypt and Qatar — are in fact U.S. allies, with many shared interests.

Awesome.

JeremiahJohnson on February 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Turkey is a fellow NATO member, Qatar hosts U.S. Central Command in the region and the U.S. has substantial economic, military and diplomatic ties with Egypt.

LOL! Only as long as we give them stuff. Like tanks and F-16s.

a capella on February 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

On the other hand, what if Kerry pulls the rabbit out of the hat and actually succeeds within weeks of taking the job?

Any potential success Kerry might enjoy would be illusory.

Peace will not come to the Middle East until Islam has undergone a reformation similar to that of Christianity.

Even if, for the sake of argument, some Arab country accepts Israel’s existence as a matter of political realism, its populace will not as a matter of theological ideology.

ironbill on February 18, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Sisyphean

Seth Halpern on February 18, 2013 at 2:52 PM

I’m still not convinced that this is a meaningful change rather than a change in rhetoric, if even that, given Morsi’s recent history. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try, and Obama must believe the same thing, or else he wouldn’t bother with the trip to Israel at this point.

I’m convinced. It isn’t a meaningful change. For that very reason, it isn’t worth a try. Obama is perfectly capable of spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars on a dog and pony show whose primary functions are to create false narratives and pump up his image. That appears to be what he is doing here.

novaculus on February 18, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Peace will not come to the Middle East until Islam has undergone a reformation similar to that of Christianity.

ironbill on February 18, 2013 at 2:52 PM

It already is undergoing such a reformation. Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Taliban are getting back to the fundamentals of the Koran just as the Protestants did with the Bible.

They are very different books so the results are also very different.

sharrukin on February 18, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Hmmmmm…….

Netanyahu tells Kerry Israel’s new government will be ‘committed to peace’

Israeli President Shimon Peres also speaks with the newly confirmed U.S. secretary of state, says that Israel’s election results could lead to a coalition that would advance the peace process with the Palestinians;

Kerry is expected to visit Israel and the PA in mid-February.
Feb.03, 2013 | 10:31 PM
***********************

Kerry phoned the president just after 7 P.M. on Saturday. The two talked for about 30 minutes, just before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at the Presidential Residence for Peres to officially task him with forming Israel’s new government.

Kerry asked Peres to keep him informed of the coalition-forming process. According to a source in the Presidential Residence, Peres explained the various possibilities for a new coalition.

“The results of the elections in Israel have created a new situation

and opportunities that were not there before,”

Peres, who has known and been friends with Kerry for many years, told the new secretary of state.

The president also added that the new coalition will have the

ability to open new doors

when it comes to domestic issues that couldn’t move ahead before, and in the renewal of the peace process.
(More…)
=========

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-tells-kerry-israel-s-new-government-will-be-committed-to-peace.premium-1.501204

canopfor on February 18, 2013 at 2:58 PM

It is common for Obama to move the goal posts to the left when a deal is at hand or even possible. Israel would do well to not trust him.

Liam on February 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Is all this suppose to happen when bho goes to Israel in March? Is kerry going to be there to make things between Israel and the rop type smooth sledding for bho to getter done?
L

letget on February 18, 2013 at 3:01 PM

On the other hand, what if Kerry pulls the rabbit out of the hat and actually succeeds within weeks of taking the job?

Then I’m going to start going to church. Because it would be a sign of the End Times. But hey, it might presage good times for Cubs fans.

The Arabs & Persians do not want peace with Israel. Sadat was broke and wanted the Sinai back. Jordan’s king is about the only “reformer” around.

rbj on February 18, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Ed, you really need to lay off the weekend crack smoking. It’s making you look, well, detached from reality. You just ought to know, there are things that you can do, and Things you cannot do. Achieving anything that even vaguely resemble peace between Israel and her Muslim Arab neighbors as long as her neighbors remain Muslim is firmly in the catagory of things you cannot do. Pretending otherwise is not just a case of self-inflicted deception, it’s a damned good way of getting innocent people killed.

SWalker on February 18, 2013 at 3:04 PM

what if Kerry pulls the rabbit out of the hat

When pigs fly!

GarandFan on February 18, 2013 at 3:06 PM

what if Kerry pulls the rabbit out of the hat

When pigs fly!

GarandFan on February 18, 2013 at 3:06 PM

It depends on how much crack you been smoking.

SWalker on February 18, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Israel has been burned too many times, and has given away bargaining points and got nothing in return but rockets raining down. Israel should demand that the ‘palestinians’ put together a package of ‘confidence-building measures’ to demonstrate sincerity. Then we’ll see.

slickwillie2001 on February 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM

So if Israel sucks up to The Won, does it make any difference?

Cindy Munford on February 18, 2013 at 3:19 PM

When pigs fly!

GarandFan on February 18, 2013 at 3:06 PM

America’s Congressional political pigs in perpetuity have been flying to and from their Districts – in first class – for decades.

But for term limits, the the White House pork would’ve been included in this post.

:O)

OhEssYouCowboys on February 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Stupid. There shall be no peace.

This is like trying to broker a deal between Jerry Sandusky and little Timmy; and both have to give a little.

BKeyser on February 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Stupid. There shall be no peace.

This is like trying to broker a deal between Jerry Sandusky and little Timmy; and both have to give a little.

BKeyser on February 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Yea… Little Timmy gives testimony in court about Jerry and Jerry gives up his freedom and his life expectancy.

SWalker on February 18, 2013 at 3:25 PM

As long as there is 1 Israeli alive in Jerusalem, there will never be peace in the Middle East…

Khun Joe on February 18, 2013 at 3:34 PM

On the other hand, what if Kerry pulls the rabbit out of the hat and actually succeeds within weeks of taking the job?

and they worshipped the dragon, because he gave his authority unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? And who is able to war with him?

Revelation 12:4

nobar on February 18, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Or here’s a radical concept: How bout we stop basing all our policies on fantasy, and stop telling anyone who’ll listen that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’ when in fact it is a death cult founded by a mass murdering pedophile which has as its core imperative the killing conquering and subjugation of all non-Muslims, and stop using ridiculous terms like “Islamist” when there is in fact no such ideological distinction between so-called “Islamists” and the Muzzies you pass in the supermarket whenever. They all believe in the same Islam. And how bout we actually do something about it.

Wow! Reality-based policy making! What a concept!

It is a measure of what piss-poor shape we’re in when this obvious truth is only said by random blog commenters while the cowardly, corrupt, scumbag traitors running our country continue to blow smoke and destroy the country.

WhatSlushfund on February 18, 2013 at 3:43 PM

On the other hand, what if Kerry pulls the rabbit out of the hat and actually succeeds within weeks of taking the job?

I have little doubt he will succeed. Islam still needs a few years to consolidate power. Making peace with Israel and even letting them build their Temple would give them this time. Then they could really set Israel up so they could wipe Israel off the map once and for all.

One word Antichrist. But if so it will be the new Pope who does much of the work not Kerry.

Steveangell on February 18, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Kerry is a loon.

albill on February 18, 2013 at 3:53 PM

S

Walker on February 18, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Completely missed the point.

BKeyser on February 18, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Turkey, Egypt and Qatar — are in fact U.S. allies, with many shared interests.

Yeah but Saudi Arabia are the bestest Muslim brothers of America. I suppose there is no harm in a little rivalry to see which Muslims love America the most.

BL@KBIRD on February 18, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Obama can’t be re-elected president (unless the laws are changed), and he is too young to settle for speaking on the rubber-chicken circuit.

What will he do after 2016?

My guess is that he will go after the top spot at the U.N., and try to conform the whole world to his agenda. Israel and and its Muslim neighbors will be at the top of his list, and it won’t be pretty — he will have his way until Jesus stands once again on the Mount of Olives.

KyMouse on February 18, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Obama can’t be re-elected president (unless the laws are changed), and he is too young to settle for speaking on the rubber-chicken circuit.

What will he do after 2016?

My guess is that he will go after the top spot at the U.N., and try to conform the whole world to his agenda. Israel and and its Muslim neighbors will be at the top of his list, and it won’t be pretty — he will have his way until Jesus stands once again on the Mount of Olives.

KyMouse on February 18, 2013 at 5:15 PM

The Bamster is a very lazy man, what makes anyone think that he will want to do anything after 2016? They will settle into the grand estate in Hawaii that Penny bought them, and he will golf his worthless life away.

slickwillie2001 on February 18, 2013 at 6:30 PM

There is no hope for any peace while a powerful destabilizing anti-peace player like Iran is pursuing its disruptive policies in Gaza and Lebanon.

Just because there’s some kind of changing of the guard in Washington doesn’t mean peace in the Middle East is imminent. All headlines about some “opening” in the “piece by piece” process just piss me off.

Oh and as for Obama coming in person to Israel, that’s just to ask Netanyahu IN PERSON to not bomb Iran’s nuke facilities, because the time for that bombing is in mid-late 2013. Israel CANNOT bomb Iran after a gesture such as the one Obama will be making next month (coming to Israel).

BTW, Obammer’s nominees for CIA and defense are Arabists and it freaks me the hell out.

AlexB on February 18, 2013 at 7:09 PM

There won’t be peace in the Middle East any time soon…but the Palestinians will soon cease to exist, Egypt will inundated, and Syria will be in ruins. John Kerry is not going to matter one whit.

zoyclem on February 19, 2013 at 8:31 AM