John Kerry and “what everyone knows”

For decades, diplomats and pundits have been saying that “everyone” — by which they mean their fellow diplomats and pundits — knows what the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute would look like. It would look, they say, like two states with something similar to the re-1967 Israeli border and “security guarantees” for Israel.

Lost on this arrogant breed is the fact that if everyone has known for so long what the solution is and that solution has not materialized, then the “solution” probably is not viable under present conditions. In other words, it is not the solution.

Now, John Kerry — than whom a more arrogant would-be diplomat cannot be conceived — has figured out the solution to the situation in Gaza. That solution is based on his assessment of what the two sides need:

Palestinians need to live with dignity, freedom, with goods that can come in and out, and they need a life that is free from the current restraints that they feel on a daily basis, and obviously free from violence.

At the same time, Israelis need to live free from rockets, and the tunnels that threaten them.

The “solution” that follows from Kerry’s analysis is this: Israel lifts its restrictions on what can come in and out of Gaza, as well as all other “restraints.” In exchange, Hamas agrees not to attack or threaten Israel and Gaza is “demilitarized.”

Simplicity itself.

Unfortunately, the two sets of “needs” described by Kerry are incompatible. If “goods” come into Gaza freely, then Hamas’ ability to attack Israel with rockets and via tunnels is maximized.

Thus, if Israel agrees to Kerry’s solution, its war with Hamas will prove counterproductive. Israel will be more vulnerable to future attacks by Hamas than if it had not gone into Gaza in the first place.

As for “demilitarization,” it is a pipe dream. As many observers have pointed out, this was the condition imposed in Lebanon as the basis for ending Israel’s war with Hezbollah in 2006. Yet, Hezbollah has not disarmed. In fact, it is stronger than ever.

Who would enforce the demilitarization of Gaza? The United Nations? It is Hamas’ ally and collaborator, having housed the very rockets that Kerry says Israel must be free from fear of.

The real problem with Kerry’s analysis is that it misstates the needs of the organization that the Palestinians in Gaza have chosen to govern them. The most fundamental need of Hamas is to destroy Israel and to kill as many Jews as possible.

You can look it up in Hamas’ covenant.

It’s true that “everyone” knows what the solution to the conflict arising from Gaza is. But Hamas and the Palestinians whom it represents know a very different solution than that which Israel and (one assumes) John Kerry have in mind.

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