by Alex Knepper
John Kerry has let loose against Israel, hot on the heels of American abstention from a United Nations vote condemning its settlements:
The US secretary of state sounded the warning on Wednesday in a final plea outlining the outgoing Obama administration’s vision for peace between Israel and Palestine.
“The settler agenda is defining the future in Israel. And their stated purpose is clear: They believe in one state: Greater Israel,” Kerry said.
“If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, it cannot be both, and it won’t ever really be at peace,” he added.
It is as if the events of the last 25 years never occurred. From the days of the original UN partition, Israel has tried again and again to meet the Arabs halfway — two-thirds of the way — and constantly receives nothing but blame in return, ostensibly for not trying hard enough; for not being really serious about peace. The Arabs, meanwhile, are met with the soft bigotry of low expectations — as if everyone just knows that we cannot expect them to be reasonable; that Israel is the adult in the room who has to maturely hold its tongue so as not to inflame the child constantly on the verge of a tantrum.
Let us remember that at the 2000 Camp David summit, Israel variously offered the overwhelming majority of the West Bank and Gaza, the dismantling of existing settlements, a shared capital in Jerusalem, and tens of billions of dollars in aid money to what would be the nascent Palestinian state — and was repeatedly turned down by Yasser Arafat, who refused to put forward a single counter-offer, and launched a new intifada just months later. Today, Gaza is run by a literal jihadist organization — but Netanyahu is held to be the extremist right-winger.
Peace with people who hold your annihilation as an indispensable goal is neither possible nor desirable — and even those Americans most craving peace must face up to the utter futility of all past attempts at brokering a deal. We really cannot be all that surprised that Israel should finally grow impatient with thousand-times-disproved Western fantasies that it holds the power to make jihadists stop hating Jews so much, if only they would swallow their pride and be magnanimous: nobody wants to forever play Charlie Brown to Lucy with the football. The Jews are hated for who they are, not the particulars of what they do. It is no wonder so many Israelis have come to believe that, since they are going to be hated and held to impossible double-standards anyway, they might as well pursue their own interests with little regard to what the rest of the world might think.
Nothing has changed: it is always easier to blame the Jews — a tiny minority — for their inconvenience than it is to face the depravity of their numerous, relentless antagonists who were equally devoted to the destruction of Israel before, during, and after the rise of the new settler movement. Arab rejection of the legitimacy of any Jewish state is the essential problem, and there will be no chance at peace until this changes.