By warning that a Palestinian UN resolution might strengthen Netanyahu, Kerry is actually suggesting that Palestinians can influence Israeli elections — just not in the direction Washington was hoping for.
The United States is trying to scuttle UN Security Council resolutions seeking an end to the occupation under the pretense that it could strengthen right-wing political parties in Israel’s upcoming elections, according to a report in Foreign Policy on Friday.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a gathering of European diplomats that Tzipi Livni — who recently departed the far-right Netanyahu government to join forces with the centrist Labor Party — warned him that international steps against the occupation risk emboldening the Israeli Right.
“[S]uch a text imposed by the international community would reinforce Benjamin Netanyahu and the hardliners in Israel,” Livni reportedly told the American secretary of state.
It should be noted that at least one of the UNSC resolutions being discussed is a Palestinian initiative, and is not being “imposed by the international community.”
Livni essentially confirmed the story on Saturday, responding to the Foreign Policy article with a statement saying she, “is proud to have preserved key Israeli interests at the Security Council.” Those Israeli interests, she explained, can be safeguarded only “if Herzog and Livni form the next government coalition.”
In other words, in an attempt to scuttle Palestinian diplomatic moves aimed at advancing Palestine’s own political interests, Kerry is quoting Livni in order to warn Europeans that supporting such a move might embolden Livni’s political rivals, all while the secretary of state goes out of his way to declare that Washington is not meddling in Israeli elections.
Makes sense, right?
If we follow Kerry’s logic, it’s not actually the Europeans who run the risk of interfering in Israel’s upcoming elections, but the Palestinians themselves.
Who says that Palestinians don’t have a vote in Israeli elections?
Of course none of this touches on the absurdity of asking the Palestinians to hold off on their aspirations for equality and national self-determination in order to give the Israelis time to elect a new government that might, if we’re lucky, perpetuate a 20-year-old peace process that has brought far more wars and military operations than peace.
It is worth noting that although it is still early in the Israeli election cycle, none of the leading parties have made seeking peace a cornerstone of their platform. Perhaps, that too, would embolden Netanyahu and the Israeli Right.