U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel on Wednesday for the eighth time since taking office in February. And he's been visiting regularly since July, when negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority were "renewed" after a three-year hiatus.
Unlike his previous little trips to the country, however, for the ostensible purpose of enabling the sides to reach an agreement on their own, this one is of a more interventionist nature. The April deadline for a resolution to the talks is fast approaching, with no progress in sight. And this does not jibe with Foggy Bottom fantasies.
On the heels of the disastrous deal with Iran that could not have been achieved without Western appeasement and capitulation, Kerry's current visit is especially significant. What he has come to do is spread the gospel of weakness to the Israeli government that has worked so well for the U.S. and Europe: giving a mortal enemy whatever it wants and getting nothing in exchange. Well, other than an escalated threat, that is.
No stranger to this kind of policy and its repercussions, Israeli officialdom was devastated by the news of the accord that provides Tehran with just the leeway it needs to complete its nuclear program. And none of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's international appeals to prevent the deal from going through proved fruitful. They did succeed, however, in arousing the ire of the White House, particularly when met with sympathy in Congress.
This brings us to yet another reason that Kerry came to Israel this time around bearing an American plan: The Obama administration never misses an opportunity to put Netanyahu in his place.
Because the details of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiation process have been purposely veiled in secrecy since their outset in the summer, most information is garnered from leaks and statements from "anonymous officials." The latest of these is that Washington has come up with specifics that Netanyahu will be expected to accept in the very near future. It is not only the Palestinians who blame Israel for the "stalemate" in the talks; Kerry, too, believes that it is Israel's unwillingness or inability to delineate final-status borders at the root of the problem. So the secretary of state, accompanied by special envoy Gen. John Allen, brought a list of suggestions in his suitcase.
It was this that Kerry probably spelled out for Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday morning, before heading to Ramallah for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. And it was Abbas' response to it that Kerry undoubtedly relayed to Netanyahu later, over dinner.
Though none of the actual exchanges between any of the key players has been released, much can be gleaned from their public statements or, as in the case of Abbas, lack thereof.
Emerging from his morning meeting with Netanyahu, Kerry called Israel's security "fundamental." He also pointed to Allen's role as that of "assessing the potential threats to Israel, to the region and ensuring that security arrangements we might contemplate in the context of the process will provide for greater security for Israel."
Netanyahu stressed that under any agreement with the Palestinians, "Israel must be able to defend itself by itself with its own forces."
What the latter means is that Netanyahu is insisting on the right to send Israeli troops into Palestinian territory if and when necessary -- which, of course, it will be, since no deal with the Palestinians has ever included peace with Israel.
The former means that the United States will engage in "assessing" and "contemplating."
Where the third party to this farce is concerned, it is all moot anyway -- which is why Abbas did not address the press. The PA president has no intention of conceding or compromising on anything, including on the issue of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian one.
And why should he, when Israelis like former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin are providing him with the perfect cover story?
Indeed, just as Kerry's plane was landing at Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday night, Diskin was giving a speech in Tel Aviv at an event marking the 10th anniversary of the Geneva Initiative, a peace plan proposed by prominent Israeli leftists and Palestinians, backed by counterparts in the international community.
In keeping with his treasonous revelations in the film "The Gatekeepers," Diskin asserted that failure on Netanyahu's part to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict constituted a greater threat to Israel than a nuclear Iran. Like Kerry, echoing Abbas, Diskin also warned that Israeli actions and inactions are liable to lead to a third Palestinian intifada.
In the midst of all this weakness worship, cheers could be heard across the globe on Wednesday, when Hollywood announced the casting of Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Let this message not escape Netanyahu.
Ruthie Blum is the author of "To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the 'Arab Spring.'"