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Palestine: historical amnesia causes Kerry's downfall

By David Singer - posted Wednesday, 16 April 2014


John Kerry was well on the way to becoming another impotent and failed Secretary of State in November last year as predicted:

Historical amnesia - Kerry-style - has been - and apparently still is - a potent factor in failed American attempts to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict.

Such ignorance has clouded the thinking of many former well - intentioned Secretaries of State - who became ticking time bombs destined to end up on the political scrap heap because they tried to undo what was internationally guaranteed in former Palestine ninety years ago.

Kerry - like previous Secretaries of State before him - made the same fatal error of ignoring the PLO's refusal to accept decisions taken in the international arena between 1920 - 1922 and since then - believing the PLO could be appeased into changing its mind.

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Since its inception in 1964 the PLO has never been prepared to recognisethe historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country as laid down in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.

The current Kerry negotiations were being conducted pursuant to the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2003 Bush Roadmap - as amplified at Annapolis in 2007

However the Roadmap itself was fatally flawed in its objective of seeking to create a second Arab state in former Palestine - in addition to Jordan - for two basic reasons:

  1. Such a State had already been rejected in 1937, 1947 and 2000/2001 by the Arabs - and Kerry's hope there might be a change of heart in 2014 was clearly dispelled by the terms of the PLO Charter.
  2. A 19 year window of opportunity had been available to create such a state with the simple stroke of an Arab League pen in the entire West Bank and Gaza at any time between 1948-1967 - yet no attempt had been made to do so.

Kerry was no doubt sincere in his desire to end the 130 years old conflict - but so were those other Secretaries of State who preceded him and got nowhere because they pandered to the PLO - which has continued to maintain that every international decision since 1920 to the present is null and void.

Kerry's mission impossible not unsurprisingly turned out to be an ignominious diplomatic failure.

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Kerry's political redemption will now depend on the release of his long awaited draft framework agreement for peace - promised by Kerry but postponed on at least three occasions due to Kerry's inability to procure agreement to its terms from Israel and the PLO.

Did Kerry's draft framework agreement encompass the following conditions enunciated by President Bush in his letter to Ariel Sharon dated 14 April 2004 - as overwhelmingly endorsed by the Congress :

  1. The United States reiterates its steadfast commitment to Israel's security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel's capability to deter and defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats.
  2. The United States is strongly committed to Israel's security and well-being as a Jewish state.
  3. It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair, and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.
  4. As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.
  5. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.
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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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