A Sad State of Affairs: The Kerry Record

The Gaza war of July and August 2014 occasioned the sharpest frictions in memory between the United States and Israel, highlighted by a cease-fire proposal offered by Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel’s security cabinet rejected unanimously. Kerry’s plan envisioned a seven-day cease-fire, during which the parties would negotiate “arrangements” to meet each of Hamas’s demands about the free flow of people and goods into Gaza and the payment of salaries of Hamas’s tens of thousands of employees. As for Israel’s demands about destruction of tunnels and rockets and the demilitarization of Gaza, these were not mentioned at all, except in the add-on phrase that the talks would also “address all security issues.”

The document cited the important role to be played by “the United Nations, the Arab League, the European Union, the United States, Turkey, [and] Qatar.” Conspicuous by their absence from this list were Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority. These three had also not been invited to the Paris meetings where Kerry worked on his ideas with leaders of the countries and bodies mentioned.

Barak Ravid, diplomatic correspondent for the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, wrote that the proposal “might as well have been penned by Khaled Meshal [head of Hamas]. It was everything Hamas could have hoped for.” The centrist Times of Israel’s characteristically circumspect editor, David Horovitz, branded Kerry’s initiative “a betrayal.” And left-leaning author Ari Shavit commented that “Kerry ruined everything. [He] put wind in the sails of Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshal, allowed the Hamas extremists to overcome the Hamas moderates, and gave renewed life to the weakened regional alliance of the Muslim Brotherhood”…