Monday, July 28, 2014

Kerry's about turn

Secty of State Kerry, flanked by the Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Qatar, made an amazing anti-Israel ceasefire proposal at the end of the failed meeting in Paris of the representatives of all the main powers, plus Turkey and Qatar representing the interests of Hamas.  Instead of continuing to support the Egyptian ceasefire proposal that Israel had accepted right at the beginning of the conflict in Gaza, which was for a 7 day ceasefire followed by negotiations, Kerry apparently accepted hook, line and sinker the Hamas proposal, namely that Hamas will accept a ceasefire in exchange for a lifting of the blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt.  This is incredible and completely unacceptable.  Has Israel gone through all this fighting, been bombarded by over 1,000 missiles and lost over 40 men in order to give up the only means it has to try to prevent Hamas rearming and restarting the cycle all over again. 
Kerry said that we must be sensitive to the need for the Palestinian people to live a normal life in Gaza, but how can he say that without taking into account that they are controlled by the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas.  It is they who will benefit from such a proposal.  Who at this interational gathering was speaking for Israel, certainly not the US, perhaps nobody.  Kerry did say that the ceasefire must ensure that Hamas will stop firing rockets into Israel's populated areas.  But, how does he plan to ensure that?  It seems that Kerry and the Obama Administration has changed sides, if they ever were on Israel's side.  Kerry's statement was meant to curry favor with the Turks and the Qataris who are supporting Hamas and with all those who are demonstrating violently against Israel. 
It is clear that if Israel were to agree to such a ceasefire demand, this would be considered a major victory by Hamas, and this is what Kerry wants to give them.  This comes from the mistaken belief that any ceasefire must be mid-way between the conditions of both sides and must treat both sides equally, a case of moral relativism.  In fact, Hamas is the aggressor, Hamas has amassed a huge stockpile of missiles, has build a huge complex of tunnels and has at the same time kept the Palestinian inhabitants of Gaza in poverty.  As a terrorist organization it has also used the Palestinians as human shields while firing rockets from their homes, schools and mosques.  It can in no way be compared to Israel, which is a significant friend and ally of the US, and that has been protecting civilians on both sides. 
Today Hamas played games with the ceasefire situation.  Israel agreed to a further 24 hr humanitarian ceasefire requested by the UN.  Hamas rejected the ceasefire and started firing rockets (including from schools) into central Israel.  As a result Israel cancelled the ceasefire and started responding.  Then Hamas immediately requested another 24 hr ceasefire for the Eid festival that starts today..  But, this time Israel refused.  It is obvious that Hamas is not motivated by the need to help the Gazan population, which it uses as a hostage.  So far 42 Israelis have died in the conflict, and more are likely to die.  It is not reasonable that Israel will make a huge concession to Hamas and reward it for starting this conflict and causing so many casualties.
Last night Pres. Obama reportedly called PM Netanyahu and told him it was "imperative" that Israel accept a "humanitarian ceasefire."  This is supposedly based on the Nov 2012 ceasefire as well as the July 2014 Egyptian proposal that Israel accepted and Hamas rejected.  Now Kerry has muddled the situation by proposing a ceasefire very different from that which makes a significant concession to Hamas.  Kerry's statements have been criticized by right and left in Israel, by the Palestine Authority and by Egypt and Jordan for rewarding Hamas for its aggression.  Meanwhile the US officially rejected the widespread criticism of Kerry. The UN Security Council is currently discussing a humanitarian ceasefire proposal.  If it means that the US Obama Administration is abandoning Israel in order to curry favor with Turkey and Qatar in order to placate Hamas this could be a disaster for Israel and for the whole western anti-terrorism campaign.


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