"Why is it then that US Secretary of State John Kerry is so eager to push both parties into another set of negotiations that are highly likely to be not only unproductive but counterproductive, by fuelling Palestinian anger by their failure and thus bringing us a step closer to the inevitable third intifada? The answer is simple. The United States needs Israel and the Palestinian Authority to start negotiations for the sake of negotiations well before the UN General Assembly convenes in September so that it can be spared another major embarrassment on the issue of Palestinian statehood when the General Assembly convenes. If Kerry can demonstrate that an American-sponsored peace process is underway he can forestall criticism both of Israel and of the United States in the General Assembly for lack of progress toward Palestinian statehood.
The primary reason for the Kerry initiative is to deflect international criticism of the United States for its failure to stop Israeli colonisation of the West Bank which is rendering Palestinian statehood impossible. It has become increasingly clear to seasoned observers of the Middle East that Washington's inability to make a dent in Israel's settlement policy is not only a question of the tail wagging the dog; it demonstrates that on the Palestine issue the dog and the tail have switched roles.
" Mohammad Ayoub in Al-Jazeera
A retired career ambassador with experience in the ME chided me recently for incessant pessimism. He specifically mentioned Kerry's current attack on this "windmill." I told him that it was understandable that policy people like him should insist on hoping that someday money would grow on trees or that there would be a chicken in every pot, but I also told him that as a long experienced intelligence person I was not inclined by habit to do other than describe present reality or probable futures.
IMO, the Natanyahu government does not intend to allow the creation of a Palestinian state that would have the attributes of an independent country, i.e., armed forces, borders that it controls, unfettered economic development, control of its own government finances, currency, contiguous territory free of the occupation of foreign (Israeli) troops,control of its own air space, and an independent foreign policy. Shall I continue? I do not blame the Israelis for this. They know what they are. This is a religio-nationalist settler state. They are less and less abashed about saying this. Michael Oren was very firm on television this week in insisting that Jews are an ethnic people, not a religious group and that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish ethnic group. I applaud his honesty, but Israel remains a strange ally for the United States, a country in which the central government is suing Texas for supposedly seeking to favor one ethnic group over others.
What the Israelis are willing to "give," the Palestinians will not accept. That is what Israel expects. The Palestinians know this but have been strong-armed into the Washington circus.
John Kerry's heart's desire rests beyond his reach. pl