What if the Secretary of State gave a policy speech and no one cared? Because Secretary Kerry’s speech came after its abstention on the Security Council vote, few in Israel will pay any attention to anything he said. Had the speech came before the abstention, there would have been some possibility of it influencing the debate within Israel. But following the U.S. abstention, Kerry has lost all credibility with Israelis across the political spectrum.
This is why his speech wasn’t even aired live on Israeli TV.
The speech itself was as one-sided as the abstention. It failed to mention the repeated offers from Israel to end the occupation and settlements, and to create a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza: Arafat’s rejection of the Clinton-Barak proposals in 2000-2001: and Abbas’ failure to respond to the Olmert offer in 2008. To fail to mention these important points is to demonstrate the bias of the speaker.
Kerry also discussed the Palestinian refugees, without even mentioning the equal member of Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries. If Palestinian refugees deserve compensation, why don’t Jewish refugees deserve the same?
Finally Kerry seemed to confirm that in his view any changes from the pre-1967 lines would not be recognized without mutual agreement. This means that the prayer plaza at the Western Wall, the access roads to Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem are now all illegally occupied. This is, of course, a non-starter for Israelis. It is also wrong as a matter of history and law. Jordan captured these historically Jewish areas in 1948, when all the surrounding Arab countries attacked the new Jewish nation in an attempt to destroy it. Jordan’s illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of Jews was accompanied by the destruction of synagogues, cemeteries, and schools, and the bringing in of Arab settlers to move into the Jewish homes. When Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967, Israel recaptured these Jewish areas and allowed Jews to return to them. That is not an illegal occupation. It is a liberation.
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