In the last week, things have changed between the U.S. and Israel. Kerry may have the guts to continue refusing to lie for Israel’s occupation – which is all that’s needed to shake its foundations. This is no tiff.
If it hadn’t happened on the same day, last Thursday, that the breakthrough came in the Geneva talks on Iran’s nuclear program, John Kerry’s joint interview on Israeli and Palestinian TV – and the chain reaction it would have set off – would still be dominating the news from the Middle East. Instead, it was a one-day story, overtaken by the chain reaction from the Geneva breakthrough, notably Netanyahu’s furious attempt to block what he calls this “bad deal” with Iran.
If it hadn’t been overshadowed by the Iran story, Kerry’s interview, coming on the heels of a report that the U.S. was going to present an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan in January, would have been seen for what it was: a very high-profile signal that the Obama administration has decided to stand up to Netanyahu, to tell him publicly what it thinks of his policy and to make clear that until he changes direction, the United States views him, not Mahmoud Abbas, as the main obstacle to peace.
I don’t know of a precedent for a U.S. secretary of state, or a president, publicly attacking Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians like Kerry did – and in front of not only the Israeli public, but the Palestinian public as well. Just look at what he said:
The reaction from Netanyahu’s circles was brief and bellicose: Israel would not “give in to the intimdation tactics.”
This is not the way Americans and Israelis ordinarily talk to each other in public. This is not a tiff. This is not one of the natural ups and downs in the unshakable relationship bla bla bla. This is a break between the U.S. and Israel on the peace process, caused by the secretary of state’s decision to finally...Read More