U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry must feel he is being “swiftboated” again, as politicians and critics in the Middle East rail against his non-stop missteps in trying to resolve the crisis in Gaza.
Even the Palestinian Authority slammed Kerry on Sunday evening for “crossing all red lines” in his latest ceasefire proposal, according to Channel 2, the Times of Israel reported.
The [emergency Foreign Ministers] Paris meeting between the US, Turkey, and Qatar representatives was tantamount to an international gathering of “the friends of Hamas,” it said, declaring “The PA is the only representative of the Palestinian people,”
Not only were representatives of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the PA not invited to participate, but Kerry’s chumminess with Qatari and Turkish emissaries roiled their leaders to no end. Qatar has been the principal financier of Hamas’s infrastructure build-up to make war with Israel, and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday described Israel’s actions in Gaza as “ten times worse than what Hitler did to the Jews,” and called Egypt’s leader “a tyrant.”
Journalist Barak Ravid of Israel’s Ha’Aretz newspaper, a persistent critic of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, blasted Kerry in his Sunday column for his poor judgment and major misunderstandings in assessing the Middle East mosaic.
He called Kerry’s Friday news conference “one of the most embarrassing incidents since taking office.”
Regarding Kerry’s consistent misrepresentation of the facts and misperception of events, Ravid wrote, “It’s as if he isn’t the foreign minister of the world’s most powerful nation, but an alien, who just disembarked his spaceship in the Mideast…If Kerry did anything on Friday it was to thwart the possibility of reaching a cease-fire in Gaza. Instead of promoting a cease-fire, Kerry pushed it away.”
According to multiple Israeli and Egyptian media reports, Kerry’s ceasefire proposal “accepted Hamas’s demands for the opening of border crossings into Gaza – where Israel and Egypt fear the import of weaponry; the construction of a seaport; and the creation of a post-conflict funding channel for Hamas from Qatar and other countries.”
Israeli Arab affairs experts on Israel’s political analysis TV news magazine Yoman were perplexed at Kerry’s behavior. They groped to explain his and Obama’s failure to appreciate that nothing could be settled in Gaza without the full cooperation of its two bordering countries, Egypt and Israel, and that Qatar and Turkey were arsonists and not firemen.
On Tuesday, Kerry and his entourage had been humiliated in Cairo when they were required to walk through a metal detector before meeting with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. It was lamely explained that the security detail was new and unfamiliar with VIP protocol, while everyone understood the true reason was because el-Sisi was mad at America for supporting his arch-enemy the Muslim Brotherhood and for delaying weapons shipments that he needs to fight terrorists in the Sinai.
Kerry lost further credibility with the key players at the beginning of the week when it was announced that the United States had just concluded an $11 billion arms deal with Qatar, much of which may find its way to Hamas and radical jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq.
Even Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the most dovish member of Netanyahu’s cabinet, told Kerry on Friday that his proposal for a week long cease-fire of Israel’s Gaza campaign was “completely unacceptable,” and that it “would have strengthened extremists in the region,” according to The Guardian.
Interviewed Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Prime Minister Netanyahu emphasized that if and when negotiations between the parties begin, they will occur in Cairo and demilitarization and rebuilding will be tied at the hip.
Hopefully, at that stage, America’s representatives will be more sagacious and more sophisticated than the secretary of state.
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