What a tired-looking, hoarse Kerry did for more than an hour was pretty much compile the “greatest hits” from numerous speeches he and US President Barack Obama have given over the last number of years on the Mideast.
He talked about the detrimental effects of the settlements; how Israel needs to chose whether it wants two states or one state, meaning it can either be a Jewish state or a democratic one, but not both; and how the settlements are making a two state-solution impossible.
All of this has been said multiple times before by the Administration, no surprises there.
A good part of the speech, however, was devoted to defending the US’ abstention at the UN last week – a sign that the harsh criticism by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s, ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and other government ministers had unnerved him a bit.
That last sentence may be giving Kerry too much credit. He seems incapable of being unnerved — not by repeated humiliation by Russia, not by the carnage in Aleppo, and not by earning Israel’s lasting enmity. It’s impossible to take this man seriously.
Keinon argues that, contrary to Kerry’s central assertion, there are alternatives between a one-state and a two-state solution. John Bolton has made the same argument.
But if Kerry is right, the Palestinian reaction to Kerry’s speech confirms that in the foreseeable future there can only by a one-state solution — the solution that’s in place now and is serving Israel rather nicely, thank you.
Mustafa Barghouti of the PLO executive committee delivered the Palestinian reaction. He stated flatly that the Palestinian leadership cannot accept the parameters of Kerry’s proposed two-state solution. Barghouti explained that Kerry’s principles pertaining to refugees, recognition of the Jewish state, and Jerusalem are “unacceptable.”
First, said Barghouti, “you cannot make the issue of Palestinian refugees only an issue of compensation; you cannot deny people their right to return to their home.” This was in response to Kerry’s statement that most refugees will not return to their historic homes, e.g., in Tel Aviv and Haifa, and instead should receive compensation.
“Second,” he added, “recognition of Israel as a Jewish state would deny the right of the Palestinian people who are citizens of Israel and that is totally unacceptable.” In other words, the solution must be one state, not two states.
So that’s that — and has been for decade upon decade.