Did anyone really expect Kerry to achieve anything (apart from Kerry himself perhaps)?
The ‘peace process’ has been accurately caricatured as two persons negotiating over how to divide up a pizza while one party is eating the pizza. The recent demand from the Palestinian side – that before negotiations can be restarted Israel outlines their vision for a two-state solution – is entirely reasonable. In the terms of the pizza analogy, they haven’t even demanded that the other party stop eating but only that they outline their plan to stop eating!
Israel refuses to offer any outline of their own vision for a future Palestinian state, and this is obviously because they don’t have one! Kerry plays along with the Israeli charade and expects the Palestinians to come on board by offering them a few economic incentives. How insulting!
It seems that Kerry has adopted the Zionist mindset wherein Arabs are not seen as being fully human. Kerry throws a few crumbs and expects the Palestinians to scamper up and sit obediently at his feet. No. America has done its dash as a potential broker for peace between Israel and Palestine.
Kerry fails to secure Palestinian talks in Israel, Israeli official says
US Secretary of State John Kerry promised “constructive talks” between Israel and Palestine, but both sides say that’s not happening anytime soon.
Just a few days ago, US Secretary of State John Kerry made a promising trip to Israel to rekindle Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
By Tuesday, Kerry was already announcing he had held “very constructive talks” with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, hopefully to pave the way one day for the two sides to talk directly with each other.
“Each of them made very serious and well-considered, constructive suggestions with respect to what the road forward might look like,” Kerry told reporters on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, his attempt at peace talks appears to have floundered so far. A senior Israeli official told the country’s media they weren’t budging.
“There will be no response to any demand where the purpose [of the demand] is to supply appease [sic.] the Palestinians and make them come to the table,” an unnamed Israeli senior official told Ynet.
“Ministers are unanimous over the decision of not giving in to any pre-condition. They present conditions in order to make the process of renewing direct talks difficult. There will be no gestures, especially not land withdrawals,” the anonymous source added.
The reports came hours after Palestinians said they would only negotiate peace in exchange for “a clear formula” concerning borders and the release of detainees in Israeli jails, the Times of Israel reported.
Ha’aretz’s diplomacy correspondent pointedly writes: “A senior Israeli official, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the subject, expressed considerable skepticism regarding Kerry’s steps, and made cynical, slightly scornful comments regarding his attitude. ‘Kerry believes that he can bring about the solution, the treaty and the salvation,’ he said. ‘He thinks that the conflict is primarily over territory … and that is wrong.’”
The bad news came as President Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, Philip Gordon, is reportedly carrying out an intense series of under-the-radar meetings with high-level Israeli government officials. And it’s 10 days before a planned visit to the country by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
GlobalPost’s senior correspondent in Israel, Noga Tarnopolsky, says some skepticism is not surprising.
“There does seem to be fear in Jerusalem that Kerry somehow ‘misunderstands’ the principles at stake, and is trying to push a territorial and security-based solution,” she said.
Washington’s top diplomat is seen as seeking pragmatic steps forward “without taking into account issues important to the Israeli government that are much harder to quantify,” she said, “such as the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish homeland and the abandonment of the Palestinian demand for their refugees’ right of return.”
However, that’s not so clear cut, she explained.
Just this week Tsippi Livni, the justice minister who’s in charge of negotiations on the Israeli side, said recognition of Israel as a Jewish homeland is not a necessary precondition for negotiations.
The Christian Right, in their unquestioning support of the Israeli government, often forget that almost all of the Christians in the ‘Holy Land’ are Palestinians.
The church in Israel/Palestine indeed has the unenviable task of preaching love and reconciliation between all the peoples of the land (Christian, Muslim and Jew) while enduring outright hostility from so many of their brethren in the West.
Bishop Younan Calls Church to Remain Steadfast, Hopeful, and Prophetic
JERUSALEM, 25 January 2012 – Worshippers from nearly every Christian tradition crowded into the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City of Jerusalem last evening to mark day four of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Together, those gathered celebrated a Service of the Word in Arabic, German, and English with Bishop Dr. Munib Younan, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), preaching.
In his sermon, Younan reflected on the centrality of the cross of Christ not as doctrine or decoration, but as the very way of life, unity, history, experience, and call in the church—not only in the past, but in the present life and witness of the church in society.
“The church today is again called to be bridge-builders and ambassadors of reconciliation.” Younan said. “We are called to play a role in building a modern civil society, but also to inject into society the common values of all religions that promote coexistence, peace, and justice, and accepting the other. We are called to a prophetic role, speaking the truth to power. Only when the church is involved in society, and especially among the suffering, then it will have a future.”
Younan spoke to recent articles published questioning the survival of Arab Christianity in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and developments in the Middle East that point toward a growth in extremism and threaten to curtail human rights, in particular women’s rights.
Yet, Younan said, “even in these circumstances, we will continue to be steadfast and not emigrate. For we are a people who carry a message—a message of love, a message of moderation, a message of undying hope—a message entrusted to us that is so essential in these days as the situation in the entire Middle East continues to develop. We are called to remain because the Lord called us to be brokers of justice and instruments of peace in the Holy Land.”
Younan called on the local Christian community to “Remain steadfast. Do not give up hope. Remember your calling. Be a source for moderation in the midst of a sea of extremism.”
Younan also called upon expatriate and global Christian communities to “take up your crosses in an accompaniment relationship with the local churches. Walk with us as the Emmaus disciples and Jesus walked together on that first Easter afternoon, listening to one another, learning about the current situation in Jerusalem… Come abide with us. Come share our bread. Come and see.”