Written by David Singer.
“But now the holy dollar rules everybody’s lives – Gotta make a million doesn’t matter who dies” [Queensrÿche – Revolution Calling]
US Secretary of State John Kerry has increased the possibility of renewed conflict in the Holy Land with some very confusing remarks this week refuting his earlier demand that the PLO recognize Israel as the Jewish State.
On 3 March – Kerry told the AIPAC Conference:
“Any peace agreement must also guarantee Israel’s identity as a Jewish homeland.”
Yet 10 days later Kerry told members of the House Foreign Relations committee that:
- international law has already declared Israel a Jewish state, and
- Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence on a public declaration of Israel’s Jewish character from the PLO was “a mistake” in the diplomatic process.
Kerry also told a Senate panel:
“‘Jewish state’ was resolved in 1947 in Resolution 181 where there are more than 40– 30 mentions of ‘Jewish state’. In addition, chairman Arafat in 1988 and again in 2004 confirmed that he agreed it would be a Jewish state. And there are any other number of mentions.”
Accepting Kerry’s latest claims as being factually accurate – which they are not – Kerry needs to answer this question:
How can any agreement ever be reached between Israel and the PLO if the PLO is not required to guarantee Israel’s identity as a Jewish homeland?
Netanyahu has made it clear on many occasions that without the PLO making such a declaration – no negotiated “two-state solution” can ever be achieved.
Kerry’s contradictory statements appear to have cut the ground from under Netanyahu’s feet.
The PLO can now confidently expect that its rejection of this express Israeli demand would be supported by America as being:
- reasonable and
- allow the PLO to walk away from the negotiations because Israel unreasonably persisted with that demand.
Kerry’s comments fly in the face of President Bush’s written assurance to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in a letter dated 14 April 2004 – overwhelmingly endorsed by the Congress on 23 June 2004:
“The United States is strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state.”
What reasons could Kerry possibly have for abruptly abandoning Bush and the Congress’s specific commitments – supported by Kerry himself at AIPAC?
Kerry’s following remarks to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations on 13 March provide the possible answer:
“I also think we have to remember that foreign policy in 2014 is not all foreign. The fact is that we are, in the State Department, increasingly focused on economics, focused on building our strength here at home, on advancing American businesses, on creating job opportunities. Every time I speak to the Department of State, I talk about foreign policy as economic policy. And every Foreign Service officer today and every Civil Service officer now must also become an economic officer, and we have changed the training at the Foreign Service Institute in order to take all of our initial recruits and begin to structure ourselves differently than in the past.
Some people say there – some people express a skepticism about this. Well, let me just tell you: Our Embassy in Zambia recently helped create jobs in New Jersey. The patient advocacy of our diplomats helped an American construction company land an $85 million contract. They’re building 144 bridges, and they have the potential to do far more. There may be a follow-on, multi-hundred-million-dollar contract. Our consular staff in Kolkata – they helped bring Caterpillar together with a company in India to develop a $500 million power plant. When 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of our market, and when foreign governments are out there extremely aggressively chasing RFPs, requests for proposals, contracts, jobs, opportunities, and they’re backing their companies in a very significant way, we need to understand we’re living in a different world than we were in the Cold War when America was the single powerhouse economy of the world and everybody else was recovering from the war, World War II. Now, then you could make mistakes and still win; now, you can’t. It’s a different economic competitive – it’s a different marketplace.”
Maintaining commitments to long standing allies apparently now plays second fiddle to American business enterprises earning international dollars.
Lucrative contracts possibly falling into America’s lap to repair the damage and havoc wrought in Moslem countries such as Syria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq – much of it American induced – seems more important than incurring the wrath of the Council of the League of Arab States which had stated on 9 March that it absolutely rejected recognizing Israel as the Jewish State.
America brought to its knees economically by the global financial crisis and its disastrous forays into Iraq and Afghanistan is apparently – as a declared goal of American foreign policy – prepared to soften its support for Israel if this opens up new business opportunities for America in Islamic countries.
Kerry’s policy risks the Holy Land being turned again into an arena of violent conflict – as those who rejected the 1947 UN Partition Plan are emboldened by Kerry’s remarks to contemplate again attempting what six Arab armies unsuccessfully tried to do in 1948 – eliminate the Jewish State.
Abandoning the Holy Land for the holy dollar is a recipe for another potential humanitarian disaster and an American foreign policy failure of massive proportions.
Will President Obama and the Congress allow this to happen?
David Singer blogs at Jordan is Palestine