When television in New York was brand new, children’s programming included countless hours of silent cartoons featuring Farmer Gray (or “Farmer Al Falfa”), originally made in the 1920’s and 30’s. Among other problems, Gray and his cat faced the Sisyphean task of ridding the farm of mice, thousands of them. Nothing availed: after dumping the mice in the lake, Gray would return to the farm, turn on a faucet, and out would come — mice.
Why does John Kerry make me feel like Farmer Gray? Possibly because the same old stuff comes back over and over, no matter how clear it is that it is complete and utter nonsense. Yesterday he said,
I am intensely focused on this issue and the region because it is vital really to American interests and regional interests to try and advance the peace process and because this festering absence of peace is used by groups everywhere to recruit and encourage extremism … Both sides mistrust each other deeply and there are reasons that mistrust has built up. I am convinced that we can break that down.
Let’s look at everything stated and implied here:
“The festering absence of peace” is actually festering a lot less in Israel than it is in other places in the world and even the Middle East. There is plenty of festering non-peace going on in Egypt, which is spiraling out of control, where churches are attacked and Christians murdered, and where there will soon be starvation as the nation’s food and currency run out.
There is also a lack of peace festering in Syria, where the death toll of the civil war is conservatively estimated at about 60,000, where chemical and biological weapons are at risk of falling into the hands of terrorists, and where one of the major opposition groups has just announced that it is joining up with al-Qaeda.
There is also the very serious danger that the peaceless festering in Syria will cause Lebanon and Jordan to fester peacelessly as well. And don’t forget the absence of peace in the Korean peninsula, which could begin to fester massively at any moment. These are all much more urgent if regional and world peace is one’s concern.
Certainly “groups” use the Israeli-Arab conflict to “encourage extremism” — more correctly, they use the presence of a Jewish state in ‘their’ Middle East to do that — but would an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority make them stop? Listen to Barry Rubin:
Islamist groups and governments, along with radical Arab nationalists, Iran, and others, are determined to prevent any resolution of the issue. Anything other than Israel’s extinction they hold to be treason. If—and this isn’t going to happen—Israel and the Palestinian Authority made a comprehensive peace treaty those forces would double and triple their efforts to subvert it.
The government of Palestine would face determined domestic opposition, including assassination attempts on the “traitors” who made peace. Palestinian factions would claim to be more militant than their rivals and would seek to use the new state as a basis for attacking Israel in order to prove their credentials and advance their political fortunes.
What would the government of Palestine do once cross-border attacks inevitably began against Israel? It is highly likely it would disclaim responsibility and say they cannot find those responsible or even proclaim that these people are heroes.
Of course, the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip would not accept the deal, thus ensuring that it could not be implemented. That last factor, which is a huge and impassable barrier is simply ignored by the “peacemakers.” Israel would have to make major territorial concessions and take heightened risks in advance that would bring zero benefits from a Hamas government that would increase its attacks on Israel. Hamas forces on the West Bank, perhaps in partnership with Fatah radicals, would seek to overthrow Palestine’s government.
There would be attempts to carry out atrocities against Israeli civilians to break the deal, just as happened by Hamas alone during the 1993-2000 “Oslo peace process” period. Hizballah from Lebanon would also increase attacks on Israel to prove that the treasonous peace could not hold.
The ruling Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria would do everything possible to help Hamas. There would be outrage in large sectors of public opinion and especially among the armed Islamist militias who would try to lever their countries into war, stage cross-border attacks against Israel, and back Palestinian insurgents.
Of course, the fact that they understand all of the points made above is one of the main reasons why the Palestinian Authority’s leadership isn’t interested in making a peace deal with Israel, and not even negotiating seriously toward that end.
Ironically, then, the recruiting and encouragement of extremism would be at far higher levels than it is now.
Notice that Kerry, like all past American
meddlers mediators, conflates ‘peace’ with an Israeli-PLO agreement that results in Israel withdrawing from the territories. But a piece of paper is a piece of paper. There is a fundamental problem that no possible Palestinian Arab leadership will accept the idea of a Jewish state, and will immediately begin trying, by force and diplomacy, to overthrow it. A withdrawal will only make it easier.
What American interests and regional interests is he talking about? I suppose the ‘regional interests’ are those of Turkey and the Arab states. Obviously, whatever is bad for Israel is good for them. American interests ought to include a strong, democratic ally in an area where anti-Americanism is the rule. Instead, Kerry seems to perceive these interests as placating the Saudis, and more recently, the Turks. Both of these regimes are ideologically enemies of the democratic West — and, unlike Israel, they have never supported US actions unless they directly benefited from them.
Finally, there is the mistrust that he believes he can break down. This implies that the issues are not substantive, but flow from misunderstandings developed over the years. But the mistrust on the Israeli side comes from years of terrorism, war, rocket bombardments, etc. It’s very concrete and quite reasonable. And the Arabs mistrust the Jews because they are ‘occupying Arab land’ and have been doing so since 1948 and before. There is only one thing that could change that, and Israel’s Jews are not prepared to move to Poland.
Either Kerry believes his statement, which means he is incompetent, or he understands all of the above and has different motives (which makes him a liar). Maybe he simply wants to carry on the State Department policy, established in the mid-1970’s as a response to the Arab oil weapon, to shrink Israel to 1949 size regardless of the consequences.