John Kerry’s speech today setting forth his and Obama’s vision of a final status for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was expected to be a first step towards another UN Security Council resolution.

(UPDATE) My quick take on the speech:

It was an angry speech, and all of that anger was directed at Israel. In that sense, it fit the Obama paradigm precisely — the Palestinians may not be helpful, but the Israelis are to blame. There were so many contradictions in the speech, it was a model of Kerry’s lack of seriousness — being serious takes more than a serious tone of voice.

Kerry’s defense of the abstention was pretty pathetic. Completely missing was the recognition that Resolution 2334 and the way in which it was passed have made any resolution more, not less, difficult. This Resolution was dropped on the Israelis with almost zero notice. While Kerry’s voice rose over the accusations of collusion, he never really disputed that the U.S. supported and encouraged the Resolution. Indeed, much of his speech was devoted to defending what happened.

For a supposedly big picture speech, it got very far down in the weeds, such as the number of building permits and a draft Knesset bill that isn’t even law yet. Never mentioned was the core of the dispute — the Arab Muslim world does not accept a Jewish entity in any form or any boundary in the heart of the Arab Muslim world. Speaking that truth would have been a breath of fresh air – but instead we received stale condemnation of settlements as if there was no history of Palestinian rejectionism and Israeli offers to leave over 95% of the land area.

Kerry seemed to suggest there would be no attempt to impose his solution, but that doesn’t mean there will be no more UN action. A resolution adopting or approving Kerry’s 6 principles of a resolution without imposing them, still is a possibility. Those principles were nothing new, and principles Israel has mostly accepted in prior offers. But one of those principles, a non-militarized Palestinian state, likely is a non-starter, and would be ineffective anyway since without Israeli military control of the border with Jordan, there would be nothing to stop Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran from sneaking weaponry into the area.

So, this speech was a bitter and sad end to John Kerry’s tenure as Secretary of State, one which left people farther apart than before he got involved.


That goal appears to have suffered a potential blow, as reports indicate that Russia is opposed to the idea of imposing a solution, Russia Rejects Kerry’s Proposal for Quartet to Adopt U.S. Principles on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. That doesn’t rule out further U.S. action at the U.N., but it may reflect that passing such a resolution would not go as smoothly as the December 23 resolution.


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