Kerry’s words: A warning or a threat?
Israeli government officials believe U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is setting up Israel as the side to blame if the peace talks with the Palestinians fail and is using the Europeans to apply pressure on Israel.
It is not difficult to guess that the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers would rather have been watching Scarlett Johansson instead of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Johansson, who starred in a Super Bowl commercial for SodaStream — the Israeli company that has a production facility in Mishor Adumim — chose to leave her position as spokeswoman for the human-rights organization Oxfam when they called upon her not to do the ad for SodaStream.
On the other hand, Kerry annoyed the Israeli top echelon. In an appearance at the Munich Security Conference, he behaved like a mediocre commentator who had gotten there by accident, and not like a person who had been put in charge of the foreign relations of a mediating superpower that was supposed to be fair in its quest for the agreement it seeks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Kerry said that Israel was taking a risk. Its security was an illusion. If there were no agreement, he warned, everything would blow up in our faces and we would suffer terror attacks alongside political terrorism. The Palestinians would turn to international institutions, the international court in The Hague would rule against Israel, and the Israeli economy would suffer boycotts.
By his statements, Kerry also created irritation on the diplomatic plane as well as the political one. Diplomatically, one can conclude from his statements that he sees Israel as the only one to blame for the possible failure of the talks, and is using the Europeans to put pressure on Israel.
On the political plane, Jerusalem officials accused Kerry of meddling in Israel’s internal affairs in favor of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid and against Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. They also accused him of trying to influence public opinion in Israel to press for an agreement.
Kerry used the terminology of the Israeli left-wing camp, a policy supported by a significant bloc of the coalition — in other words, Lapid and Livni. When they spoke of a binational state or fear of boycotts, Kerry did so publicly as well.
Officials close to Netanyahu, Lieberman, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz spotted the Americans using Lapid’s and Livni’s talking points and exploded on Sunday, before the cameras, at the doorway to the cabinet meeting. “The attempts to impose a boycott on the State of Israel are immoral and unjust,” Netanyahu said.
Steinitz spoke more harshly: “Kerry’s statements are offensive, unfair and intolerable. The State of Israel cannot be expected to hold talks with a gun held to its temple.” Read More…