Thursday April 17, 2014
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17.04.2014
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Ruthie Blum

Peres, Kerry and the EU

On Thursday morning, Israeli President Shimon Peres made a statement about the decision on the part of the European Union to engage in boycotts, divestment and sanctions against any Israeli goods or services produced or undertaken beyond the 1967 borders -- including the teachings of Hebrew University professors.

Rather than condemning this move as state-sponsored anti-Semitism, Peres waxed poetic about his respect for the EU. He then criticized the "timing" of the release of its anti-Israel resolution, and urged that the EU "give peace a chance."

After all, he pointed out, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been in Jordan all week, and he is on the verge of making a real breakthrough on the Palestinian-Israel front.

"The supreme efforts that [Kerry] has made will bear fruit on both sides," Peres assured. Couldn't the EU at least postpone its plans for a while?

"Nothing will happen if you wait a few months," Peres admonished. "This is a critical period. Don't spoil [Kerry's chances]."

By the end of the day, however, it was the Palestinian Authority that nixed negotiations. The only thing surprising about this obvious outcome of Kerry's sixth visit to the region since taking up his post was the media reportage indicating that peace talks were finally about to resume. So rampant were the rumors on this score that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office was forced to dispel accusations that he had consented to begin negotiations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by accepting the 1949 armistice lines as a precondition for sitting down at the proverbial table.

Naturally, Kerry is on his way back to the U.S. empty-handed. And, contrary to his earlier hints that "real progress" was being made in getting the Palestinians to discuss the possibility of "reviving stalled talks," State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki set the record straight.

"There are currently no plans for an announcement on the resumption of peace talks," she said.

No kidding.

As soon as Abbas returned to Ramallah after meeting with Kerry in Amman on Tuesday and Wednesday, the PLO Executive Committee and the Fatah Central Committee went ballistic -- figuratively, for a change, though actual rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza at around the same time on Thursday.

The PA officials were not interested in hearing from Abbas that a delegation of Arab League foreign ministers, also in Jordan with Kerry this week, was satisfied with the secretary of state's guidelines for jump-starting the talks. Though these suggestions have not been made public, one can guess that they include recognizing Israel's right to exist in some shape or form. Oops.

In response to this characteristic intransigence on the part of the Palestinian leadership, U.S. President Barack Obama phoned Netanyahu to "encourage [him] to continue to work with Secretary Kerry to resume negotiations with the Palestinians as soon as possible."

Apparently, pounding on the only open door in the Middle East sums up U.S. foreign policy in a nutshell. This makes a lot of sense, since the rest of the region is burning with flames fanned by a deadly mixture of White House and State Department ideology and inaction. Ignorance, too, plays a major role.

Take Kerry's joint press conference on Wednesday with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, following a meeting with the ministerial delegation assigned by the "Arab League Committee on the Peace Initiative." Reiterating his mantra about peace being "in everybody's interest," Kerry went on to disseminate the great lie of all time.

"Many ministers said to me today ... that the core issue of instability in this region and in many other parts of the world is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," he orated with pathos, indicating his full agreement with the assessment.

In fact, not a single Arab-Muslim upheaval -- not Iran's race for a nuclear bomb; not Syria's chemical-weapon-charged civil war; not Egypt's violent repeat of its false "democratic" revolution -- nor any strife elsewhere in the world, is even remotely connected to the "Palestinian-Israeli conflict."

The refusal of the U.S. to acknowledge, let alone stress, this truism is as dangerous to American interests as it is to Israel's. Furthermore, it constitutes a green light to Europe to proceed with its pernicious program to delegitimize the Jewish state.

Peres is wrong that the EU decision to enact a boycott is "ill-timed." On the contrary, its timing is impeccable.

Ruthie Blum is the author of "To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the 'Arab Spring.'"

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