U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has a vision of peace in the Middle East, which includes putting all the pieces together, carefully, gently and with thought. Whether those pieces stay together or not is up to the region itself. He’s just finished his 10th visit in hopes of reaching the seemingly elusive goal of peace by constructing the framework in which both Israel and Palestine can coexist.
Some wager that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas look to blame each other. It does sound like a mountain to climb with long simmering tensions involving borders, refugees, security and Jerusalem.
Both Israel and Palestine claim Jerusalem as their capital city. As the U.S. Secretary of State, Kerry is intent on working his diplomatic skills, building momentum and delivering support to reach some agreement. The time frame for all of this is to be achieved by April, with Kerry’s vision of two states.
The borders and the Jewish settlements remain the most difficult. The Israelis’ plan to build 1,400 new homes in the West Bank will more than upset the Palestinians. This move alone leaves questions concerning the Israeli government and what they seek. Approximately half a million Jews are in settlements in the occupied territory.
It goes back and forth as one accuses the other in return. Netanyahu pointed fingers at the Palestinian Authority for continuing to incite over the last six months. Then he said President Abbas treated terrorists like heroes, referring to prisoners released from Israel.
With the stance of the U.S. starting in 1967, Palestine should be able to govern themselves in a peaceful state based upon the land boundaries in 1967. Because of instability in the region and militant Islamic groups, Israel officials believe the Jews must have a presence in the Jordan Valley to defend the east border. This would require a road through the West Bank.
But many Israelis feel that because the Arab countries are so out of control, now may be the best time to make a deal. Some feel Netanyahu and Israel must not be the ones who don’t try, or else there will be punishment in the long run. The national and economic well-being for Israel is dependent upon the U.S. Who knows what is being said to each other, but public appearance suggests they are not close to any agreement. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s vision is careful and persistent.
Kerry was in Paris Monday, and handed over two Idaho potatoes to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, after their discussions on the crisis in Syria. This display probably gave way for a little comic relief at the end of long talks on what seems to be a never-ending crisis.
The U.S. Secretary of State will visit the Vatican Tuesday and talks will revolve around peace in the Middle East, the poor and issues of humanity. Kerry will meet with Pietro Parolin to talk about Pope Francis’s views on the Middle East as he will visit Jerusalem in May. Kerry, a Roman Catholic, will then visit Kuwait and discuss Syria again.
As the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has a vision for peace in the Middle East, will his quest come to fruition?
By Kim Troike