John Kerry’s public warning to Israel that it will face a 3rd Intifada and international delegitimization unless it relinquishes “illegitimate” settlements and a final peace deal does not leave a single Israeli solder in the West Bank, was a clear threat.
The threat took place in an interview with Israeli and Palestinian television, as reported by The Times of Israel, Kerry slams Israel’s West Bank policies, warns of 3rd Intifada (emphasis added):
US Secretary of State John Kerry launched an unusually bitter public attack on Israeli policies in the West Bank Thursday, warning that if current peace talks fail, Israel could see a third intifada and growing international isolation, and that calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions would increase. Kerry made the comments during a joint interview with Israel’s Channel 2 and the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation.
“The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos,” Kerry said. “I mean does Israel want a third Intifada?” he asked. “Israel says, ‘Oh we feel safe today, we have the wall. We’re not in a day to day conflict’,” said Kerry. “I’ve got news for you. Today’s status quo will not be tomorrow’s…” Israel’s neighbors, he warned, will “begin to push in a different way.”
The secretary went on: “If we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel, there will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel that’s been taking place on an international basis.”
Turning to settlements and Israel’s presence in the West Bank, he added: “If we do not resolve the question of settlements, and the question of who lives where and how and what rights they have; if we don’t end the presence of Israeli soldiers perpetually within the West Bank, then there will be an increasing feeling that if we cannot get peace with a leadership that is committed to non-violence, you may wind up with leadership that is committed to violence.”
The highlighted words have a lot of meaning in the context of the dispute, particularly with regard to BDS and delegitimization.
As Israel-hating, Hezbollah-loving Lebanese commentator Sharmine Narwani notes, in arguing against Israel’s right to exist, Israel is juat “a lone UN Security Council veto” away from international delegitimization — something Kerry surely knows as it has been dangled over Israel’s head by the Obama administration for years.
So too the final agreement issue of Israeli military presence along the Jordan river valley — a military necessity given there are fewer than a dozen miles at some points between the formerly Jordanian illegally occupied West Bank and the sea.
Kerry is not just criticizing, he is dictating the terms of a final agreement, and hanging threats over Israel’s head if it does not capitulate. Israeli officials recognized that, per the Times article:
Israel’s Channel 2 news quoted unnamed officials in Jerusalem responding bitterly to the secretary’s remarks. Israel, said one official, would not “give in to the intimidation tactics” of the secretary, and would not compromise on its vital security needs. The official also reportedly noted that Kerry’s comments would not “encourage” the Palestinians to compromise.
By taking sides publicly, Kerry encourages Palestinian intransigence and escalating demands.
Evelyn Gordon at Commentary notes:
Kerry has been actively encouraging the Palestinians’ bad faith. On his current trip, for instance, he publicly and repeatedly denounced Israeli construction as “illegitimate” and “disturbing,” even though it doesn’t violate any Israeli commitments–including those five signed agreements, not one of which mandated a construction freeze. Yet he hasn’t said a word about PA actions that explicitly violate previous commitments, such as its ongoing campaign of incitement (barred by all its signed agreements) and push for international boycotts and sanctions against Israel. And Europe, needless to say, has been even worse.
The result is that Palestinians have concluded they can violate any agreement with impunity. And Israelis wonder why, in that case, they should ever bother signing one.
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