WASHINGTON — In a worrisome move, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has made a proposal (per Reuters) that is enticing to the Palestinians, but not the Israelis. If the long-time U.S. ally Israel cannot back another return to peace, then maybe the U.S. should reconsider its proposal.
Kerry’s plan calls for a freeze on settlement construction and a release of Palestinian prisoners held by the Israelis. The top Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, told a U.N. committee that these terms are obligations that Israel must abide by.
According to Reuters, Erekat said, “We have no conditions to resume negotiations…”
“Make no mistake we are exerting every possible effort in order to see that Mr. Kerry succeeds. No one benefits more from the success of Secretary Kerry than Palestinians and no one loses more from his failure than Palestinians”.
Kerry has met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas five times, Erekat three times and they all spoke via phone on a weekly basis. In the words of Erekat, “Mr. Kerry is keeping things (close to) his chest”.
What is not addressed is that Abbas’ Fatah faction is far apart from uniting with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which is another enclave of Palestinians. Until a union, and a stable one at that, is reached, it appears unreasonable that Israel needs to negotiate with two split Palestinian parties.
In addition, Israel has been asked to return to its original state lines, which is indefensible from a military strategic standpoint and in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s view as well.