In the adjacent posts John and I draw on the commentary of David Horovitz and Barak Ravid on John Kerry’s promotion of a ceasefire that toes the Hamas line in Gaza. Hamas is a genocidal terrorist organization with which Kerry is prohibited from dealing directly under American law. Kerry’s efforts nevertheless serve Hamas and betray Israel as well as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in Hamas’s war on Israel. Not a surprise, perhaps, for those of us who hold a low opinion of Barack Obama and his disservice to American interests around the world, but important to understand as events unfold in and around Israel.
Drawing on Israeli sources, the Times of Israel staffers report on Kerry’s efforts as follows with an added credit to Avi Isacharoff, who is a ToI columnist with good Arab sources:
Israeli government sources on Saturday night accused US Secretary of State John Kerry of “completely capitulating” to the demands of Hamas and its champion Qatar in drafting the Gaza war ceasefire proposal that Israeli ministers unanimously rejected on Friday.
The unnamed sources, quoted by Israel’s Channel 2 TV, said Kerry “dug a tunnel under the Egyptian ceasefire proposal” — which Israel accepted and Hamas rejected last week — and presented the Israeli government with a text that accepted “most of the demands” raised by Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules the Strip.
To the “horror” of the Israeli ministers, the Kerry proposal accepted Hamas’s demands for the opening of border crossings into Gaza — where Israel and Egypt fear the import of weaponry; the construction of a seaport; and the creation of a post-conflict funding channel for Hamas from Qatar and other countries, according to the sources. The proposal, meanwhile, did not even provide for Israel to continue demolishing the Hamas network of “terror tunnels” dug under the Israeli border.
Rather than provoke an open diplomatic confrontation with the United States, the report said, the appalled ministers chose not to issue an official statement rejecting the Kerry terms. Instead, word of the decision was allowed to leak out.
The cabinet was meeting again on Saturday night to discuss all aspects of the 19-day conflict with Hamas. Ongoing efforts were being made to reformulate the ceasefire terms, Israeli sources said.
Channel 2′s diplomatic reporter Udi Segal said “voices” from the cabinet had described Kerry as “negligent,” “lacking the ability to understand” the issues, and “incapable of handling the most basic matters.”
The Channel 2 report said that some of those involved in the contacts with Kerry had suggested that “perhaps there was some kind of misunderstanding” or that Kerry “was only presenting a draft” of the offer, but the secretary himself gave no indication that this was the case when he expressed his disappointment that no ceasefire had been agreed during a press conference in Cairo on Friday night.
Israel and Hamas did maintain a humanitarian truce through Saturday evening, during which Israel continued to track and demolish some of the Hamas tunnels. Hamas ended the truce unilaterally on Saturday night and resumed rocket fire.
Israel was also fuming Saturday over the tactics followed by Secretary Kerry since Friday night in his ceasefire quest.
Kerry flew to Paris and held talks Saturday without representatives of Israel, the Palestinian Authority or Egypt, but with Qatar and Turkey, which Israel’s Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said showed “we’re a long way from a political solution.”
Privately, Israeli sources signaled deep dismay that Kerry engaged in the talks in Paris with representatives of Turkey, whose leadership is openly hostile to Israel, and Qatar, whose leadership is seen by Israel to be representing Hamas’s interests. Egypt was also understood to be deeply dissatisfied with Kerry’s tactics.
Israeli government sources also privately contradicted Kerry’s assertion Friday that his ceasefire proposal was “built on” the Egyptian proposal from last Tuesday. Far from resembling the Egyptian proposal, which urges an immediate ceasefire followed by negotiation, the Kerry proposal leans heavily toward Hamas, the sources said, in tying Hamas preconditions to a cessation of hostilities.
On Friday afternoon, The Times of Israel published what Arab sources said were the key terms of the Kerry offer, which indeed made no provision for Israel to be able to continue tracing and demolishing the cross-border tunnels.
An Army Radio report on Friday night highlighted that the US on Monday signed an $11 billion arms deal with Qatar, and noted that Qatar is championing Hamas’s demands in the ceasefire negotiations, and is also alleged by Israel to be financing Hamas’s rocket production, tunnel digging infrastructure, and other elements of its military infrastructure. The radio report also claimed that Ban Ki-moon “is flying around the region on a Qatari plane.”
Channel 2′s respected Middle East analyst Ehud Ya’ari said Saturday that Turkey and Qatar are “Hamas’s lawyers,” and that it was “very worrying” to see how Kerry was handling the ceasefire process.
Isacharoff’s related column — “Kerry told Hamas many of its demands would be met under ceasefire deal” — elaborates on the role Kerry is playing in promoting Hamas’s war aims.
This morning ToI’s Raphael Ahren reports on a leaked draft of the Kerry ceasefire proposal confirming what the ToI reported on Friday:
A “confidential draft” of the American ceasefire proposal leaked to the press appears to confirm what The Times of Israel reported Friday — that Washington was willing to generously accede to many of Hamas’s demands, while all but ignoring Israel’s security requirements.
The published text of the proposal, obtained by Haaretz, also shows that Qatar and Turkey – Hamas’s main sponsors in the region — were given prominent roles in the mediation, while the Palestinian Authority and Egypt were entirely marginalized.
It is virtually impossible to extract this information from reports of Israel’s rejection of ceasefire terms conveyed in the American media on FOX News and elsewhere.
UPDATE: David Horovitz now adds: “John Kerry: The betrayal.”