Or maybe the naked expression of a sense of moral urgency about the Israeli atrocities:
We’ve got to get over there … we ought to go tonight. I think it’s crazy to be sitting around.
Epiphany or not, John Kerry has begun distancing himself from Israeli leadership and discovering that he has some autonomy to do so. That’s the news in the coverage of his ceasefire discussions.
Would that he could breathe a little spine into his boss.
From the New York Times, Israeli officials are irked by Kerry’s overtures to Arab leaders and concern about the Gaza blockade:
Mr. Kerry, in Paris, reiterated his position that any temporary arrangement needed to be followed by an enduring solution that addressed both Israel’s security demands and Gaza’s economic crisis.“The tunnels have to be dealt with — we understand that, we are working at that,” he said. “By the same token, the Palestinians can’t have a cease-fire in which they think the status quo is going to stay. Palestinians need to live with dignity, with some freedom, with goods that can come in and out, and they need a life that is free from the current restraints.”Though Mr. Kerry said Friday that his plan was “within the same framework” as an Egyptian initiative that Israel embraced on July 15 but Hamas rejected, some Israeli officials were irked that Mr. Kerry’s Paris invitation list included the foreign ministers of Turkey and Qatar. Those two nations have lately been the prime political and financial support for Hamas and Gaza, and Israel has tried to quash a separate Qatari cease-fire proposal.
Barak Ravid in Haaretz says that Israelis were “shocked” by Kerry’s proposal for a ceasefire the other night, couldn’t believe what was written down:
Last Friday evening, when the draft reached the Prime Minister’s Bureau at the Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and the rest of the security ministers could not believe what had been written down on paper.
The cabinet ministers, most of them familiar with the other and better American drafts shown to Israel over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, were in shock. The ministers voted unanimously to reject the document. Nevertheless, Israel decided not to issue an official announcement on the matter, so as to avoid embarrassing the U.S. secretary of state and burning the bridges at work. Instead, it was decided that Netanyahu would call Kerry personally and demand significant improvements to the draft on the matter essential to Israel.
Senior Israeli officials expressed great anger regarding Kerry’s proposal over the weekend. Cabinet ministers described it as a “prize for terror,” claiming that the U.S. secretary of state had completely adopted the positions presented by the Turkish and Qatari foreign ministers negotiating on behalf of Hamas.
On Saturday, apparently following his telephone conversation with Netanyahu, Kerry tried to patch up the damages caused by the proposal he submitted to Israel the day before.
David Horovitz in the Times of Israel, on “John Kerry: The betrayal”. Note who comes out looking good here, Hillary Clinton:
It seemed inconceivable that the secretary’s initiative would specify the need to address Hamas’s demands for a lifting of the siege of Gaza, as though Hamas were a legitimate injured party acting in the interests of the people of Gaza …
When Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Clinton, got involved in the effort to broker terms for ending Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, it was self-evident, first, that a ceasefire was at hand, and, second, that the diplomatic work was being coordinated effectively with Jerusalem to ensure that Israel’s vital interests were being served. It is a testament to Kerry’s incompetence (or worse), and to the collapse of faith between him and Israel, that, when he headed ignominiously home on Saturday, neither of those assumptions held sway.
Whether through ineptitude, malice, or both, Kerry’s intervention was not a case of America’s top diplomat coming to our region to help ensure, through astute negotiation, the protection of a key ally. This was a betrayal.
P.S. It’s a good thing not to have political aspirations. Note how Jimmy Carter’s grandson, who is running for Georgia governor, has to distance himself from the former president’s excellent statements on Israel. For the Jewish vote, the NYT says; leaving out the financial angle.