Well said John Kerry

Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry named some truths we haven’t heard from U.S. officials for quite some times

  • That Israel’s practice of seizing Palestinian land while denying Palestinian people equal rights, from the nakba to the present day, cannot continue
  • That indefinite occupation and democracy are incompatible,
  • That criticism of Israel’s racist policies is not inherently anti-semitic,
  • And that continuing to deny Palestinians rights (not just in the occupied territories but also inside the Green Line) is at odds with democratic ideals.

Here at Conservative Home, Garvan Walshe says

Often presented as composed of of religious fanatics with no sense of reality, no characterisation of Israel’s settlement movement could be further from the truth. Since the late 1970s, when the new first outpost beyond the country’s 1967 borders was built, it has taken on the world, and each year it has won a little bit more.

However much it may use religious fervour, its leadership is intensely practical and focused, quite literally, on building “facts on the ground” that will be difficult for its opponents to undo. It works from the belief that conflict with the Palestinians is inevitable and justified. Inevitable, because the Palestinians cannot be expected voluntarily to accept Jewish sovereignty over areas they consider rightfully belonging to them (that would involve them giving up their dignity, so they have to be coerced), and justified because both sides were happy to join the battle – so the Palestinians shouldn’t complain if the fighting goes against them.  The settlers are not fair-minded men and women looking for a solution to the conflict, but partisans who want to prosecute it to final victory. Failure to understand this was Kerry’s first mistake.

Peace requires the settlers’ defeat, but it can’t be achieved directly by international pressure (extreme nationalists always thrive if they can persuade their countryfolk that wagons must be circled). It needs an an Israeli government hostile to them to take office.

Jewish Voice for Peace say

…Kerry’s plea to preserve a two-state solution sounded more like its eulogy. His “plan” offered no vision for how Palestinian human rights will be established and defended — so it’s no real plan at all.

The reality is that Israel has no incentive to comply with the moderate principles Kerry outlined — even if Kerry was going to be in power to try to implement them. Just a few months ago, the U.S. promised Israel billions more dollars in military aid, and that aid was met with rampant settlement construction. And that was under President Obama. Working hand in hand with his racist allies in the incoming Trump administration, Netanyahu is drawing up plans for an extreme future of xenophobia, violence, and annexation.

So, many people are pleased with what John Kerry said but don’t believe he was strong enough.

Therese May said

“We do not… believe that the way to negotiate peace is by focusing on only one issue, in this case the construction of settlements, when clearly the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is so deeply complex.”

For once, I profoundly disagree with our brilliant Prime Minister. It is right to focus on only one issue otherwise, we just get way laid by all of the issues and none of the injustices end up being addressed, let alone rectified.

 

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