The spate of stabbings by Palestinians of Israeli Jews has caused John Kerry to spring into action, defined as it always is for Kerry as attempting to wring concessions from Israel. Kerry plans to meet with PA president Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II in the Middle East next weekend.
In advance of these meetings, Kerry will meet with Israeli prime minister Benjamim Netanyahu on Thursday, assuming events allow Netanyahu to leave Israel for Berlin, where he is scheduled to see chancellor Angela Merkel. Netanyahu has already postponed his meeting with Merkel once.
Netanyahu knows what Kerry hopes to gain from the meeting — concessions he can present to Abbas. Accordingly, the prime minister’s office has let it be known that none will be offered.
This is the only sane approach. To offer concessions in response to the Palestinian attacks would only encourage more attacks.
Kerry isn’t the only “usual suspect” trying to get in on the diplomatic act at Israel’s expense. France has proposed at the United Nations that international observers be placed on the Temple Mount. As John has explained, Palestinians are using rumors of changes in the administration of Temple Mount — a holy place for Muslims and Jews — as a pretext for violence.
The U.S. State Department bolstered the Palestinian narrative by claiming that, indeed, the status quo at the Temple Mount is not being observed. When called on this claim, State had to recant.
The French proposal to send in international observers also bolsters the Palestinians baseless claim. Why send in U.N. observers to “identify possible violations of the status quo” (as the French resolution states) unless there is evidence, as opposed to rumors intended to incite, that there’s been a change?
But that’s only the beginning of the mischief in France’s proposal. I agree with the editors of the Jerusalem Post when they say that “the French motion seems less to do with restoring security on the Temple Mount and more to do with taking advantage of the recent conflict to ‘internationalize’ the holy sites.”
The JPost recites the long and sorry (and sordid) history of U.N. observers and peacekeepers. In this case, the relevant history is less the U.N.’s history of incompetence and abuse (on display, for example, in Rwanda, the Congo, and Srebrenica) and more its blatant anti-Israeli bias.
Netanyahu rejected France’s proposal and treated it with the contempt it deserves. He reiterated that Israel has done nothing to change the status quo and that the French proposal made no mention Palestinian incitement or terrorism.
Netanyahu also contrasted Israel’s treatment of holy sites with their fate elsewhere in the region. He said that everyone has seen “what happened in Palmyra [Syria], what happened in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere where Muslim extremists destroy each other’s mosques, to say nothing about Christian, Jewish and heritage sites.”
In Israel, meanwhile, Muslims get to worship at the holiest site in the Jewish religion, while the government does its best to prevent Jews from doing so.
The key for Israel is to offer nothing in response to the violence — no concessions, no U.N. observers; nothing. The current uprising isn’t about the Temple Mount; it’s about waging low-level warfare against the Jewish State. The only mystery is what took the Palestinian extremists so long to ape as best they can the terrorism of their fellow extremists throughout the region.
The only sensible response is the one Netanyahu outlined — aggressive and systematic countering of terrorism through the reinforcement of security forces, and utilizing both deterrent and punitive measures. “Today,” he said, “we will begin taking steps against incitement, including against the Islamic Movement, which is the foremost inciter,” and action against that group’s source of funding.
John Kerry and the government of France aren’t part of the solution, and right now their “diplomacy” is part of the problem.