Blaming Israel – Elliott Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations)
(dailyalert.org, Apr. 14, 2014)
Several well-known members of America’s foreign policy establishment have just published an open letter to Secretary of State Kerry, entitled “Stand Firm, John Kerry,” blaming Israel for every problem in the peace negotiations. The authors say that the “enlargement” of Israeli settlements is the central problem in getting to peace.
But there is no “enlargement” of Israeli settlements. There is population growth, especially in the major blocs that Israel will obviously keep in any final agreement. But enlargement, which logically means physical expansion, is not the problem and is rare in the West Bank settlements. The authors don’t seem to know this.
With respect to the Jordan Valley, they do not acknowledge something every serious expert knows: that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan also has grave concerns about security in the Jordan Valley and does not want to see a quick withdrawal of Israeli forces from that long border.
Let’s hope Kerry does “stand firm” against an analysis that blames one side exclusively for the failure to make peace, and ignores the history and complexities of the negotiations.
The writer, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, was a deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration.