A very harsh assessment comes from an Israeli government source on the efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to broker a ceasefire late last week.
The Times of Israel is reporting that a government official told Israeli Channel 2 that Kerry “dug a tunnel under the Egyptian ceasefire proposal” which was accepted by Israel on Friday, and gave the Israeli government a text that accepted most of the demands made by Hamas.
To the “horror” of the Israeli ministers, the Kerry proposal accepted Hamas’s demands for the opening of border crossings into Gaza — where Israel and Egypt fear the import of weaponry; the construction of a seaport; and the creation of a post-conflict funding channel for Hamas from Qatar and other countries, according to the sources. The proposal, meanwhile, did not even provide for Israel to continue demolishing the Hamas network of “terror tunnels” dug under the Israeli border.
Rather than provoke an open diplomatic confrontation with the United States, the report said, the appalled ministers chose not to issue an official statement rejecting the Kerry terms. Instead, word of the decision was allowed to leak out.
The cabinet was meeting again on Saturday night to discuss all aspects of the 19-day conflict with Hamas. Ongoing efforts were being made to reformulate the ceasefire terms, Israeli sources said.
Channel 2′s diplomatic reporter Udi Segal said “voices” from the cabinet had described Kerry as “negligent,” “lacking the ability to understand” the issues, and “incapable of handling the most basic matters.”
Yep. That’s our Johnny. No one has ever accused Kerry of being the brightest bulb in the room, and this pretty much confirms everyone’s previous opinion of him.
The Channel 2 report said that some of those involved in the contacts with Kerry had suggested that “perhaps there was some kind of misunderstanding” or that Kerry “was only presenting a draft” of the offer, but the secretary himself gave no indication that this was the case when he expressed his disappointment that no ceasefire had been agreed during a press conference in Cairo on Friday night.
In fact, it makes you wonder which side Kerry is on.
Noting that the US secretary chose to hold Saturday’s talks without representatives of Israel, the Palestinian Authority or Egypt, Erdan said this showed “we’re a long way from a political solution.”
Privately, Israeli leaders have signaled deep dismay that Kerry engaged in talks in Paris with representatives of Turkey, whose leadership is openly hostile to Israel, and Qatar, whose leadership is seen by Israel to be representing Hamas’s interests, and not to include Israel, the PA or Egypt.
Israeli government sources also privately contradicted Kerry’s assertion Friday that his ceasefire proposal was “built on” an Egyptian proposal from last Tuesday, which Israel accepted and Hamas rejected. Far from resembling the Egyptian proposal, which urges an immediate ceasefire followed by negotiation, the Kerry proposal leans heavily toward Hamas, the sources said, in tying Hamas preconditions to a cessation of hostilities.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan said recently, “Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism.” Nice company you’re keeping there, Mr. Secretary.
Maybe it’s for the better that we have Kerry bumbling and fumbling around in the Middle East. His incompetence gives Israel a perfect excuse to continue their attack on Hamas. Imagine a competent secretary of state. If history is a guide, we would have had a ceasefire by now. Kerry is the only U.S. secretary of state in 20 years unable to negotiate an end to hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians.
That’s the kind of accomplishment we’ve come to expect from him.