He’s dealt a blow to Israel’s prospects in the all-important blame game.
By making Israel look like the rejectionist side in the peace process, and by doing so in a spectacularly galling way, Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon’s verbal attack on John Kerry has helped the cause of ending the occupation.
It’s no mystery that the overriding goal of both Israel and the Palestinians in Kerry’s peace talks has been to avoid getting blamed for their inevitable failure. Now, after Ya’alon dissed Kerry and his diplomatic baby so thoroughly and contemptuously – and, even more to the point, without getting a word of reprimand from Netanyahu – it will be tougher yet to cast the Palestinians as the guilty party and Israel as the innocent one when this peace charade finally ends. (The deadline is April 29.) It’ll be tougher, too, to say both sides are equally at fault. It will be easier to say the Netanyahu government, not Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, is the obstacle to peace.
And that’s good. That will put the wind at the PA’s back if, God willing, they go through with their threat to return to the UN as soon as the Kerry talks are finished to press their case for independence, including by taking Israel to The Hague over the occupation. It will push more conflicted liberals into the BDS camp. It will make it extremely unlikely that Kerry, Obama and the rest of the administration, after being trashed publicly like this, will mount a very spirited defense of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians when they come under international attack.
With his gruff, stereotypically military manner, his harsh rhetoric, his arrogance and his pro-settlement, anti-Arab politics, Ya’alon is a poster boy for the occupation. Just when the world was ready to forget the bad old Sharon, he’s been reincarnated.