It has become fashionable of late to blame Israel for the failure of the Kerry initiative. The latest sign of this is the interview of an unnamed American source with Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea in which the official made excuse after excuse for why Abbas rejected the American initiative while in the same breath blaming Israel for the failure of the initiative. It would appear that the American State Department led by Kerry is incapable of assigning blame correctly even after explicitly stating which side rejected their ideas thus emptying the process of any meaning.
Here is the operative paragraph from the Times of Israel article reporting on this interview:
“In February, Abbas arrived at a Paris hotel for a meeting with Kerry. He had a lingering serious cold. ‘I’m under a lot of pressure,’ he complained. ‘I’m sick of this.’ He rejected all of Kerry’s ideas. A month later, in March, he was invited to the White House. Obama presented the American-formulated principles verbally — not in writing. Abbas refused.”
It is difficult to understand how failure of the process could be assigned to Israel after the other side explicitly and on numerous occasions rejected Kerry’s initiative at the very highest levels. This was also not the full extent of the rejection of the Kerry initiative by Abbas. In January and once again in March Abbas pushed the Arab League to issue a broad rejection of the key points of the Kerry initiative thus cementing his own rejectionism with a veneer of Arab approval. The move and the associated publicity generated by the Palestinian side came in direct contravention to the commitment made by the Palestinian side at the beginning of the talks to not reveal the contents of the negotiations. Instead, Abbas sought out legitimization for his planned rejection of the Kerry initiative.
On the other hand, the Israeli government, led by the “extremist” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted the Kerry initiative and was interested in moving forward with negotiations. Which side failed Kerry’s obsessive attempts to broker peace? Well, according to the State Department it was the Israelis that were largely to blame. Why? Well, Abbas is old you see, and moreover he is tired. He has other things on his mind, like unity with Hamas and looking for a successor. Yes, you read that correctly. Israel is guilty because Abbas is old, tired, and has other things on his mind and is not ready to negotiate on the basis of an initiative that the Americans themselves put together. It boggles the mind that this nonsense is the position that has been taken by the American government.
Note that Abbas is not too old or too tired to enter into protracted negotiations with the terrorist movement Hamas on the formation of a national unity government. Then again, in the bizarre view of the European Foreign Minister (or “the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy” for those that prefer exact titles) this is a positive move that might increase the possibility of achieving a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Apparently, in the view of the Europeans, the new government which would include factions that hold the position that Israel should be destroyed, would be more capable of engaging in productive peace talks with Israel. In their bizarre thinking Abbas who has recently rejected the American peace initiative would moderate his positions as a result of having to answer to a government which includes Hamas and Islamic Jihad, thus making progress in peace talks more likely.
One wonders sometimes if the American State Department and the European Foreign Service take turns competing for the crown of naivete and wishful thinking. Though, of course in the case of the Americans blaming Israel for the failure of the Kerry initiative, it can not be accounted for by naivete and wishful thinking alone, and the only plausible explanation is that this American administration is fundamentally hostile to Israel and wishes to blame it for the failure of the American initiative even after explicitly stating that it was the Palestinians that forcefully rejected their ideas.