Kerry: Israel could become an “apartheid state” if peace talks collapse

posted at 8:41 am on April 28, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

John Kerry has had a bad year-plus as Secretary of State. He inherited the “reset button” relationship with Russia from his clueless predecessor Hillary Clinton, and that has turned into a new version of the Cold War as Vladimir Putin restarts Russian imperialism. Kerry, however, has caused much of his own misery by insisting on an agreement with Iran that gets them economic aid while giving up nothing on their nuclear development plans. Kerry also insisted that he knew how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, only to fall on his face repeatedly as the two sides refuse to bend to his will. On Friday, Kerry lashed out by “warning” Israel that it would become an “apartheid state” if it didn’t get serious about meeting the Palestinian demands for peace, reports Josh Rogin at the Daily Beast:

If there’s no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon, Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state,” Secretary of State John Kerry told a room of influential world leaders in a closed-door meeting Friday.

Senior American officials have rarely, if ever, used the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel, and President Obama has previously rejected the idea that the word should apply to Jewish State. Kerry’s use of the loaded term is already rankling Jewish leaders in America—and almost certain to Israeli leaders abroad.

It wasn’t the only controversial comment on the Middle East that Kerry made during his remarks to the Trilateral Commission, a recording of which was obtained by The Daily Beast. Kerry also repeated his warning that a failure of Middle East peace talks could lead to a resumption of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens. He suggested that a change in either the Israeli or Palestinian leadership could make achieving a peace deal more feasible. He lashed out against Israeli settlement-building. And Kerry said that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders share the blame for the current impasse in the talks.

After this got published yesterday, a big debate broke out over the value of Rogin’s scoop. Some suggested that this wasn’t really news, and that Rogin was milking Kerry’s use of “apartheid” for sensationalism. Kerry didn’t call Israel an apartheid state now, the argument went, but warned that anything less than a two-state solution would force Israel to keep Palestinians in a second-class status in a singular state if the West Bank and Gaza were annexed rather than spun off into a new state.

That’s true, and it’s why some Israelis generally prefer either a two-state solution or a transfer of authority of the West Bank to Jordan, the latter of which is a pipe dream; Jordan wants nothing to do with it. Both sides have legitimate grievances, but grievances can be mitigated and compensated, and borders drawn through negotiations — but if that’s all there was to the conflict, it would have been solved at Wye River. Giving Palestinian full citizenship in Israel would create the same result as a capitulation on the “right of return”: the end of the Jewish state entirely. Unfortunately, that’s what the Palestinians ultimately want, which is why the peace talks went nowhere, and why they’ll continue to go nowhere.

Kerry doesn’t seem to have learned this, which makes this part of his fit of pique a little more humorous than Kerry probably thinks:

Kerry also said that at some point, he might unveil his own peace deal and tell both sides to “take it or leave it.”

Really? Take it or leave it — or what? The US will quit trying to mediate in the dispute? At least with the track record of incompetence in this area from the Obama administration and the longer track record of utter failure in every American administration in memory, that may be an improvement.

The Palestinians are already thumbing their noses at Kerry, and moving the dispute to the UN:

The Palestine Liberation Organisation’s central council on Sunday adopted a plan to pursue attempts to join 60 United Nations bodies and international agreements.

The council, under the auspices of president Mahmud Abbas, “affirms the need for the Palestinian leadership to continue membership of UN agencies and international conventions”, the Palestine People’s Party secretary general Bassam al-Salhi said in a statement.

The council also said Israel was to blame for failed international and US efforts to find a negotiated settlement to the Middle East conflict.

That would force the US to cut off the PA, but the new reconciliation agreement with Hamas will force that move anyway. That will cost Abbas about $400 million a year in aid, but it does serve as a pre-emptive answer to Kerry and the Obama administration to Kerry’s ultimatum: They’re leaving it.

Update: Jeff Dunetz offers his perspective on why the peace talks failed … again:

There is plenty of blame to go around for the failure of the latest round of negotiations. Hillary Clinton made settlements an issue; Bibi Netanyahu should have gone for a settlement freeze instead of a prisoner release, and the Obama administration was naïve in believing Abbas wanted peace, thought they could get peace by pressuring and blaming only one side.

In the end the biggest reason for the failure of the talks lies with one simple fact. The Palestinians don’t want peace. Think about it, name some concessions the Israeli’s have made, from giving up control of Gaza almost nine years ago to the latest prisoner release (on top of all the other prisoner releases). Now try to name some concessions by the “moderate” Palestinian Terrorists. Have they even stopped inciting their people to hate Jews, or recognized the Jewishness of Israel?

While neither the mainstream media or the Obama administration will recognize the truth, the ultimate blame for killing this latest round of talks should rest firmly in the laps of the Palestinians.

Until both sides agree to a permanent two-state solution that recognizes the Jewish character of one and the Palestinian Arab character of the other, there really isn’t much to discuss.

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But don’t we give Isreal billions of dollars every year so they can act just like nearby Sunni governments. Isreal is supposed to be a beacon of freedom. Our “closest ally” and our only “Western” ally in the Middle East.

The Donald Sterling tape tells the tale, he lays out the treatment of black people in Isreal. Are you just choosing to not hear that part of the tape?

Sterling: It’s the world. You go to Isreal, the blacks are just treated like dogs. There’s white jews and black jews, you understand?
Stiviano: Are the black jews less than the white jews?
Sterling A hundred percent! .
Stiviano: Is that right?
Sterling: It isn’t a question, we don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong. We live in a society, we live in a culture…I don’t want to change the culture because I can’t.

libfreeordie on April 28, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Hey perfesser. I know I’m late to the thread but I just could not pass on the opportunity to showcase the depth of your illiteracy. Spelling’s not your bestest subject, eh Sparky?

NOMOBO on April 28, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Hey perfesser. I know I’m late to the thread but I just could not pass on the opportunity to showcase the depth of your illiteracy. Spelling’s not your bestest subject, eh Sparky?

NOMOBO on April 28, 2014 at 6:23 PM

I’ve noticed that on the internets. If a poster spells it “Isreal”, read no further because you are dealing with a knuckledragging Jew-hater.

slickwillie2001 on April 28, 2014 at 7:13 PM

every time this guy opens his mouth,I say he cannot be this dumb?? He has a set Agenda,from the fools in the WH……..

woody66 on April 28, 2014 at 7:38 PM

Buying temporary “peace” (ie, the absence of declared open warfare) is a long-time diplomatic dodge (see imperial China and the UK). The US did it after WW2 and during Cold War as well.

Giving hundreds of millions USD annually in “aid” to the PA & Iran is just the latest example of this tactic.

The problem is Team Smart Power never figured how to keep the “bought” in line. Or, whom to trust.

Their ideological hubris causes them to repeat the same mistakes ad infinitum.

LaserBeam on April 28, 2014 at 10:20 PM

The only person who truly got it right, as far as I’m aware, is Romney. In his secretly taped candid remarks that were featured here a few years ago, he said that the only viable thing to do is to kick the can down the road and hope for some sort of change in the Arabs’ mindset.

Anything else is dangerous adventurism. Israel CANNOT bend anywhere. There is very little Israel has to bargain with. The conflict is and always has been over the Arabs (+Iran) refusal to accept an independent state of Israel in principal and in any form.

The US (and this has to include Bush jr. and sr., not just the incredibly inept Obama and his minions) is under the illusion that if Israel bends a little further, that’ll make the Arabs happy.

Guys, I love you (Americans), but you do not know Arabs and Muslims. Look at Afghanistan and elsewhere – they just kept on coming, without regard to their own lives, throwing themselves at US weapons, eventually exhausting you to withdraw.

I know Arabs, Israel knows Arabs, and we’re telling you, your pressure is misplaced. There is literally -nothing- Israel can do to make the Arabs accept them.

If the US wants to bring the conflict to an end, it would need to use its mighty influence in the Arab world. It probably won’t do too much, but as long as it is seen as pressuring Israel, it would perpetuate Arab recalcitrance, and that will prolong the conflict.

Thanks Obama (and Bush) for the military and intelligence cooperation (which is to the benefit of *both* our countries, and please let’s not forget that), but what we really need is unequivocal loud moral support in public. You don’t need to embrace the Israeli far right wing with their dreams of annexing most of the territories (though that would be nice…), but you need to change the public discourse and clearly state that the ARABS need to change. Not “Israel”, not “both sides”, but Arabs.

Then, maybe in a decade, if they don’t run to Russia or Iran for moral support (that is if the US does not mismanage Russia’s rising empire and Iran’s quest for nukes) there just might be hope for some resolution to this utterly insignificant territorial dispute that has been a g-ddamn cause celebre for 65 years.

AlexB on April 28, 2014 at 10:45 PM