(Washington, D.C.) — UPDATED: Over the past year of the peace talks, Israel has consistently taken practical, concrete steps to show goodwill, including releasing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, some of whom were terrorists with blood on their hands.
Israel took such measures even though Palestinian terrorists have continued to fire rockets and missiles at innocent Israeli civilians over and over and over again.
What practical, concrete steps did the Palestinian leadership?
The sad fact is that Mahmoud Abbas gave concrete nothing in return.
What’s more, he outright refused to even consider recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. Then he embarked on unilateral steps to create an independent Palestinian state in direct defiance of the terms of the peace process which call for a negotiated settlement. Then he refused to continue the peace talks beyond the April 29th deadline without Israel releasing thousands of more prisoners.
Yet now Secretary of State John Kerry is blaming Israel for the breakdown of the talks. Consider the latest headlines:
- Kerry places blame on Israel for crisis in peace talks (Haaretz)
- Kerry focuses blame on Israel for collapse of talks (Times of Israel)
- Kerry says Israel responsible for peace talks crisis (Ynet News)
- Israel ‘Deeply Disappointed’ by Kerry’s Remarks on Peace Talks (New York Times)
This is ridiculous, bordering on the infuriating. Netanyahu appointed good people to negotiate in good faith. Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the chief negotiator, is not exactly a right wing Likudnik. She is part of Israel’s center left. She wanted a deal. She worked hard for a deal. Yet she became increasingly frustrated by the resistance of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to bring serious ideas and compromises to the table, and then had to speak out when Abbas decided to sign 15 international treaties to unilaterally creating a Palestinian state.
“The past week wasn’t a good week and we will have to fight to see how we can correct and move forward,” said Livni on Israel’s Channel 2 news. “It isn’t simple. It’s very complicated. This is a real crisis.”
Bloomberg reports that “Livni called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ bid last week to join international bodies ‘a violation and a big mistake that will make it very difficult to go back to normal.”
When Abbas has burned Tzipi Livni — a woman deeply committed to a two-state solution — you know things have really gotten bad.
Yet once again Kerry is blaming Israel.
Sadly, this is part of a troubling pattern of the Obama administration alienating America’s friends and appeasing our enemies. Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have invested enormous amounts of time in trying to force enormous Israeli concessions to create a final peace deal with the Palestinians, even though everyone told them the Palestinian leadership was not prepared to deal seriously. Yet the most important mission in the Middle East right now is stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons, yet the White House and State Department are treating Iran with kid gloves.
As former Senator Rick Santorum and I stated last week:
What troubles us most is the feckless, rudderless foreign policy of President Obama. Do our enemies fear him? Do our friends trust him? To the contrary, Mr. Obama is presiding over the systematic collapse of American credibility around the globe, from the Middle East to Russia to Asia. This vacuum of leadership is creating a very dangerous global environment and must be corrected quickly.
We believe in a bipartisan approach to American foreign policy. The challenges we face are serious but manageable if we unite as a country around a policy of peace through strength. That said, we also believe in the important role of a loyal opposition that warns the government when it is heading in the wrong direction.
In the 1930s, Winston Churchill warned the world that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis represented a gathering storm that had to be stopped early and decisively lest disaster ensue. A new gathering storm is brewing, as dangerous as the last, if not more so. We need an honest, strong, principled American foreign policy now more than ever, especially when it comes to the Iranian nuclear threat. The stakes are too high for miscalculation.
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