The US State Department Does Not Want Israel to Fight Terrorism

On June 30, 2016, the spokesperson for the US Secretary of State, John Kirby gave his daily press briefing. He opened with a story about the terrorist attack against a young Israeli girl who was killed in her bed. Kirby appropriately described the “brutal act of terrorism,” however, his subsequent remarks went in a strange direction.

John Kirby
Spokesperson for the US Secretary of State, John Kirby

Consider which of these statements Kirby made on June 30 about terrorism:

  1. reiterated our steadfast commitment to our partnership with [Israel], in the shared fight against terrorism.”
  2. “This incident during the Holy Month of Ramadan underscores the extremists’ complete disregard for human life and the harm that they continue to inflict on the [Israeli] people. Attacks like these are going to only deepen our support for the people and the Government of [Israel] and their efforts to bring security and stability to their country.”
  3. “we remain committed to supporting our [Israeli] partners in their fight against [Hamas] as we continue to work with [Israel] to bolster their efforts to end this wanton violence and to restore peace.

Those are strong comments of support for the government. They are determined calls to fight against terrorism.

Unfortunately, the US Department of State did not make any of these comments about the terrorism in Israel. Only for other countries.

The first comment was about Turkey, the second about Afghanistan, and the third about Cameroon fighting Boko Haram.

When it came to terrorist attacks against Israelis, all the State Department could muster was that “there’s just absolutely no justification for terrorism.” Why would anyone even think there’s a justification for terrorism? Why make such a comment only for Israel? Why withhold voicing support to fight against the terrorists as Kirby immediately did for all of the terrorist attacks in other countries?

The World Doesn’t Want Israel to Fight Palestinian Arab Terrorists

This unwillingness to support Israel in fighting terrorists is similar to the Obama administration’s brother-in-arms, the United Nations, which repeatedly expresses its solidarity with countries in their fight against terrorism, but never stands with Israel in its efforts, as detailed in “Ban Ki Moon Has No Solidarity with Israel.”

Why doesn’t the US or the UN express support for Israel’s fight on terrorism? A few reasons:

  1. The US dislikes the tactic of terrorism
  2. The US ignores the stated goals of some terrorists
  3. The US ignores the wishes of the majority of Palestinian Arabs

The repeated comments by the Obama administration make clear that the United States abhors the use of terrorism against civilians, but considers the tactic in relation to potential goals of the groups. For example, the Islamic State/ ISIS wants to replace Iraq and Syria and much of the Middle East with a new caliphate. Boko Haram wants to create an Islamic State in Nigeria. The Kurds want independence from Turkey in their own country. These are goals that the Obama administration does not support so he voices his support to fight against terrorism in those instances because he does not support the terrorists’ mission. (Why Obama turns his back on an actual distinct ethnic group like the Kurds who seek independence, but rallies behind Palestinian Arabs who are part of the broader Arab world is a mystery to analyze another time.)

What angers many people in the pro-Israel community, is the willful ignorance of Obama and UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon about the stated objectives of Palestinian Arab terrorists. The Hamas Charter states clearly its goals for killing Jews and destroying Israel. The Fatah Constitution, which Obama likes to call “moderate,” calls for wiping out the “Zionist invasion.” These are not calls for an independent country alongside Israel, but replacing Israel.

But the US and UN do not want Israel to “fight against terrorism” the way that other governments do to protect their citizens, because they would like to see the establishment of a new state of Palestine. As such, the US condemns Palestinian terrorism (the UN almost never does), but will not advocate a forceful response to “end this wanton violence.”

Terrorism by a Community, Not a Small Group

The terrorism against Israelis does not sit in a small Gazan vacuum.

The majority of Palestinian Arabs want to see violence. A Palestinian poll in June 2016 showed that 65% of Palestinian Arabs supported the bus bombing in Jerusalem in mid-April. A majority of 54% supported the return to an armed intifada.

In the last election ever held by Palestinian Arabs, they elected the terrorist group Hamas to 58% of the parliament.

Additionally, an ADL poll in May 2014 found that almost every single Palestinian Arab – 93% – were anti-semitic.

How then does one deal with a hatred and terrorism that is supported so broadly among Palestinian Arabs?

If the elected leadership and the majority of the people support terrorism, should it continue to be called “terrorism,” or should it be called “war?”


Terrorism continues around the world and the Obama administration condemns it, but it refuses to support Israel’s active defense of its citizens, even while supporting every other country in the world in the same breath.

How should Israel supporters feel?


Related First.One.Through articles:

Select Support in Fighting Terrorism from the US State Department

US State Department Comments on Terrorism in Israel and the Territories

The US State Department’s Selective Preference of “Status Quos”

The United States Joins the Silent Chorus

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Snack-Pack Inspections

A Satire

Scene: A conference room with dozens of politicians, including the senior members of the P5+1 team and Iran, negotiating terms to the comprehensive nuclear agreement. The hour is late and people are agitated and sleepy. Each country team is mostly talking amongst themselves.

P5+1
(photo: Getty Images)

Sensing the moment is right to bring up a new deal point, US Secretary of State John Kerry attempts to catch everyone’s attention.

US Secretary John Kerry (in a loud clear voice): “We have gone through the various points of this agreement and concluded that we cannot approve it without additional security precautions. As such, we insist on automatic ‘snapback sanctions’ if there is a material breach of the terms of the agreement.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi: “What are ‘snack-pack sanctions’?”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: “’’Snack-pack inspections’. It is another excuse for the Americans to snoop around.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif: “I won’t agree to it. That is outrageous. Why must you Americans continue to compromise on our dignity?!”

Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle: “Mohammad, please. It is not that big a condition. Use the American request to push forward some of your own ideas.”

Zarif: “Why are Iranian snacks anyone’s concern? You have pushed too far!”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius: “The Americans are big snackers, they cannot help themselves! Eating all of that fast food and potato chips!”

Aide to Kerry blurts out: “Potato chips are just cold French fries!”

Fabius: “Your ‘French Fries’ are not from France, you idiot!”

Westerwelle (laughing while patting his stomach): “The Americans don’t just snack- they snack BIG. They turn warehouses into giant snack stores.  That’s why they have snacks in packs. Can you imagine!”

Kerry: “People! I said ‘snapback sanctions’ not ‘snack-pack inspections’. We need some teeth in this agreement.”

Fabius: “You Americans are real gluttons, sinking you teeth into everything. Why do you have to always focus on consuming so much garbage?”

Zarif: “I cannot agree!”

Lavrov (in a loud, condescending voice): “Hey, Mr. Ketchup, let’s say we agree with snack-pack inspections. But you would have to agree to import some of our snacks too. For example, some Beluga caviar. It would be a nice improvement for your abused tongues.”

Zarif: “We get to export our caviar to the Americans again? This would be excellent!”

Lavrov (in a hushed voice to Zarif): “You and I will discuss later where the caviar will actually come from.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague: “Does that satisfy your appetite, John?”

Yi: “Be careful Mohammad. Your country is about to be flooded with McDonalds!”

Zarif: “I’ll tell you, I will take up to 20 McDonalds, but America must agree to take our pistachios as well.”

Lavrov (out loud, but absent-mindedly): “But Russia doesn’t export pistachios.”

Hague: “Well, maybe Iran could also start to import our ‘Smarties’ now.”

Kerry: “People! This is not about exporting chocolate to Iran!”

Lavrov: “Hey Mr. Heinz! Did you marry a Hershey too? Keep quiet and we’ll handle the details of your new request.”

The conference room breaks down into lots of side conversations. After a minute, Kerry pushes away from the table disgusted, and leaves the room with some aides.


Scene: Outside the conference room, Secretary Kerry walks the halls with two assistants with a phone clutched in his hand.

Kerry (agitated): “Yes, Mr. President…. Yes, I brought it up…. How did it go?.. Well, let me sum it up this way. The other members of the P5+1 team are now renaming the streets in front of the American embassies in their cities ‘Hershey Highway’.”


Related First One Through article:

The Joys of Iranian Pistachios and Caviar

John Kerry’s Hypocrisy: “Can You Deliver?”

Listening to US Secretary of State John Kerry try to explain and defend the P5+1 Iranian nuclear deal to various audiences is a spectacle to behold, regardless of one’s position on the best course of action.  One of the people who might want to watch the sessions and learn something from John Kerry is John Kerry.

Kerry CFR
John Kerry speaking at the Council of Foreign Relations
July 2015

Secretary Kerry argued at the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) that Congress must support the deal or it would undermine his ability to negotiate any treaty with any government in the future. At 29:55 of the CFR talk, Kerry said: “Other people in the world are going to sit there and say ‘hey, let’s negotiate with the United States, they have 535 Secretaries of State. I mean, please! I would be embarrassed to try to go out… I mean, what am I going to say to people after this as Secretary of State? ‘Come negotiate with us?’ ‘Can you deliver?’ Please!

Kerry made the point that when two parties sit down to negotiate, it is critical for the sides to know that the negotiating parties are both authorized to negotiate and have the ability to fulfill their sides of the deal. If no such authority or ability exists, the discussions are an irrelevant waste of time.

Despite Kerry being quite clear about his logic, he has nevertheless insisted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sit down and negotiate with Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, even though it is clearly understood that Abbas can deliver nothing.

  • No Mandate: Abbas’s four-year term as president ran out in 2009. No presidential elections have been held since then.
  • No Authority: Abbas’s Fatah party lost legislative elections in 2006, winning only 33% of the parliament. No legislative elections have been held since then.
  • No Support: Abbas lags in every Palestinian poll held since 2006.
  • No Control: Abbas has no control of Gaza since his Fatah party was kicked out in 2007.
  • No Track Record: Abbas has shown zero credibility in being able to strike compromises to govern his own people, let alone deliver compromises with Israel.

Despite the glaringly obvious impotence of Abbas, the Obama administration continued to pressure Israel to negotiate with this straw man.

The Obama administration publicly acknowledged that the Palestinian Authority has absolutely no ability to deliver peace a few years ago. During the Gaza war on Israel in 2012, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to broker a cease-fire. She made a dozen calls to various world leaders to halt the war- but not ONCE called the Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

Compounding the inherent flaws in Abbas and the Palestinian Authority is Abbas’s insistence on bringing terms of any deal with Israel to a referendum. Abbas stated that he cannot decide on the “Right of Return” for all Palestinians, but that each of the 5 million Palestinian Arab “refugees” must make a decision for themselves. Hey Kerry- 535 “second-guessers” looks pretty good compared to 5 million! In terms of the rest of the components of a final agreement, Abbas stated that he “would go to a referendum everywhere because the agreement represents Palestinians everywhere.”  That’s impressive – he seeks the approval of 11 million “Palestinian” Arabs from all around the world!


Kerry’s comments regarding Iran are both on- and off-the-mark.  Iran and all of the parties in the negotiations know that the United States is a democracy and the political process must run its course.  Once the American people’s representatives in Congress make a decision, the government will deliver on its commitments.

However, Abbas – a complete straw man if ever there was one – with no authority or control whatsoever, openly states that millions of individuals will ultimately not only decide the fate of an Israeli-PA deal overall, but even on certain components on an individual basis.

 

Kerry fully appreciates that before negotiators start a process that they want to know the answer to the fundamental question: “Can you deliver“? However, he doesn’t care when he forces Israel to do exactly that with Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.


Related FirstOneThrough video and articles:

Abbas demands R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The Disappointing 4+6 Abbas Anniversary

Palestinian “Refugees” or “SAPs”?

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Failing Negotiation 101: The United States

One Party that can deliver

US Secretary of State John Kerry invested heavily in Israel-Palestinian Authority peace talks from July 2013 to March 2014. In the wake of the failure, many people looked to blame one of the two parties for the talks’ failure. A recent New York Times article quoted Israeli left-wing politician Tzipi Livni as blaming the Palestinians for the collapsed negotiations (a surprising statement, as in Israeli election season she only criticizes her political opponent Benjamin Netanyahu.)

In reality, it was the US that was to blame.

The US did not fail for lack of effort. It did not fail in trying to find creative solutions. It failed because the entire basis of having negotiations in the current format was a fool’s errand.

The process was doomed from the outset because Secretary Kerry deliberately ignored Negotiation Rule 101: negotiations between parties that can deliver. A negotiation between parties without authority is meaningless. A person without authority or control could theoretically promise anything – but deliver nothing. That was precisely what Secretary Kerry insisted upon when he pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to negotiate with a straw man named Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas has no mandate. Mahmoud Abbas was elected to a four year term as president of the Palestinian Authority in January 2005. After his term expired in January 2009, no new elections were held. He no longer has a mandate.

Abbas has no backing. The reason that no new elections for the PA have been held is that everyone knows that Abbas and his Fatah party would lose. One year after Abbas won the presidency, his Fatah party was trounced in legislative elections. Hamas won 58% of the parliament. Every poll taken since then has shown that Abbas would lose in a presidential election.

Abbas has no control. Gaza, with its population of 1.7 million people, is under complete control of Hamas. Hamas routed all PA forces in 2007 and Abbas has no ability to control any activities from the region. Hamas controls thousands of missiles which it fires at Israeli population centers with or without Abbas approval. Therefore, what “peace” can Abbas deliver?

Despite these enormous glaring flaws, the US pushed forward a peace process that was doomed from the start because of the very essence of one of the negotiating parties. Netanyahu was forced to sit across from a counter-party who could not deliver any compromise that he may have offered. As Netanyahu’s authority was clear, any negotiating point that he made was secure; Abbas could “bank” every concession. However, any compromise that Abbas would theoretically offer, could be negated by the Palestinians. Just as the Palestinians complained that they were never asked about the British Mandate in 1922, they could once again complain that the public was never consulted about the peace process, as a mothballed politician without backing negotiated the agreement.

Further, Abbas’ lack of control meant that he had no means of enforcing the agreement. Israel would be left (at best) with making peace with those parties that accepted the peace agreement, but still be at war with those that rejected the agreement. With Abbas unable to enforce the compromises and the peace, it would continue to fall on Israel to confront those Palestinians that were still at war with the country. Noting how the world reacted to Israel’s defensive operation against Gaza in 2014, could Israel have any sense of security that it could effectively counter-act Palestinian aggression post a mock peace deal?

Secretary Kerry compounded the mistake of the bogus negotiation by building up expectations. His earnest and persistent involvement aggravated the talk’s failure. By investing so heavily in the process, Kerry made the failure that much more pronounced. While there was no direct line linking the talk’s collapse to the July-August battles with Hamas, the environment was poisoned.

 

Abbas gets no R-E-S-P-E-C-T music video (music by Aretha Franklin): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LipAKFsUNq8

 


Sources:

NY Times on Tzipi Livni impression on talks failure: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/opinion/roger-cohen-why-israeli-palestinian-peace-failed.html?_r=0

Related First One Through articles:

Abbas 10-year anniversary for a 4 year term: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/the-disappointing-46-anniversary/