Kerry Does Exactly What He Should

Kerry and Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman.

— by Steve Sheffey

Secretary of State John Kerry has not even dropped a hint that the U.S. will force Israel to agree to terms it deems unacceptable during the peace talks with the Palestinians.

In pointing out that the status quo is not sustainable, and that Israel will face increasing diplomatic isolation and boycotts if talks fail, Kerry is describing reality. We might not like it, but that is the world we live in.

Every U.S. administration has had disagreements with Israel, including on settlements and building in Jerusalem. But unlike many other administrations, the Obama administration has never threatened Israel, let alone taken action against it.

More after the jump.
President Obama has never turned his back on Israel at the U.N., never failed to veto an anti-Israel resolution, and never withheld or even threatened to withhold aid to Israel. Military and intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and Israel is stronger than ever under Obama.

Kerry is doing exactly what he should be doing: trying to broker a negotiated agreement that allows Israel to retain its Jewish and democratic existence by withdrawing from the West Bank, and allowing Israel to retain its physical existence with adequate security arrangements. Adequate in whose eyes? Israel’s.

Last week Kerry said, “One thing I know a hundred thousand percent is that you can’t turn to the people of Israel with the prospect that what you are offering is going to turn the West Bank into Gaza.”

Israel’s security is iron clad as a priority in this issue. And I have said that from day one.

I don’t want this to be a leap of faith, but a leap of rationality and a choice based on a very understandable and tangible set of guarantees.

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  1. philareligiouszionists says

    Letters to the Editor
    Philadelphia Jewish Voice

    To the Editor:

    According to Steve Sheffey (Feb. 26 op-ed), a Palestinian state should be established in the Judea-Samaria (West Bank) territories because “the status quo is not sustainable.” That may be the conventional wisdom, but does it make sense? In 1995, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin withdrew Israeli forces from the cities where 98% of the West Bank Palestinian Arabs live. Those Arabs live under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, vote in PA elections, and enjoy self-determination in every way except that they lack an army.

    Is the creation of a Palestinian army really a worthwhile goal for Americans to promote? Perhaps it’s time to consider some other aspects of Palestinian society that deserve the attention of progressive people everywhere. For example, the Washington Post recently reported that there was a 100% increase last year in “honor killings” of Palestinian Arab women–instances in which women were murdered by their own relatives because they were suspected of violating Islamic fundamentalist morals. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority regime denies its residents freedom of the press and other basic political rights and civil liberties. Instead of pressing to give the Palestinians tanks and planes, maybe we should be pressing for the Palestinian Authority to respect democracy and women’s rights.


    Benyamin Korn, Chairman
    Religious Zionists of America – Philadelphia Chapter

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