Kerry's Peace Plan: Divide Jerusalem, Recognize Jewish State

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 |  Ryan Jones

US Secretary of State John Kerry is about to bring over six months of frantic shuttle diplomacy to a climax by presenting a firm American proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

That according to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who is close to the Obama Administration.

"After letting the two sides fruitlessly butt heads for six months, [Kerry's] now planning to present a U.S. framework that will lay out what Washington considers the core concessions Israelis and Palestinians need to make for a fair, lasting deal," Friedman wrote on Tuesday.

As the columnist explains it, the US plan sees Israel withdrawing from Judea and Samaria in stages, but not from 100 percent of the territory. Large Jewish settlement blocs would be left intact and under Israeli sovereignty, and Israel would compensate by surrendering some of its territory to the Palestinian Authority.

Jerusalem would be divided, and the eastern half recognized as the capital of "Palestine." Speaking of recognition, Israel would be explicitly acknowledged as the nation state of the Jewish people.

The proposal does not allow for the mass entry of so-called "Palestinian refugees" into Israel.

For those familiar with the conflict, as Friedman purports to be, the proposal and his eager approach to it are baffling.

How many times does Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have to reject the notions of recognizing a Jewish state or relinquishing a Palestinian "right of return" before America will take him at his word?

Abbas has staked his political legacy on achieving a "right of return" for Palestinians to Israel-proper, and has been so adamant about never calling Israel a "Jewish state" that it is somewhat unreasonable for anyone to expect him to change his mind now.

And those aren't the only insurmountable obstacles.

Kerry and Friedman seem to be forgetting about Hamas, which on Tuesday issued a statement reiterating that it would never accept a two-state solution or give up even "one inch of the land of Palestine," which the group considers to include the entirety of the Land of Israel.

Nor can Hamas' extreme positions be ignored, as the group has demonstrated its ability to win Palestinian elections and ascend to the highest positions of power, be it through democratic processes or force of arms.

There is also the matter of Israeli Arabs who would become Palestinian citizens as part of the proposed land swaps. Almost to a man, Israeli Arabs and their representatives in the Knesset have rejected such an outcome.

Last but not least, Israeli Jews have made it abundantly clear in surveys carried out over the past two decades that they will not accept the re-division of their ancient and sacred capital. Any prime minister who agrees to such a concession is very likely to be voted out of power before he or she has a chance to actually implement the agreement.

Why Kerry or Friedman believe that this latest proposal will lead to a different result than those that came before it is beyond me.

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