An Israeli satire group has posted a video to YouTube skewering US Secretary of State John Kerry for proposing purportedly "new" ideas to solve the Middle East conflict, while in fact the diplomat's plan is made up of rehashed and failed concepts.
One telling point in the video has the actor playing Kerry looking out over the mountains of Samaria from a high-rise tower in Tel Aviv, from where he quotes the old adage, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Well, it doesn't get any closer than this!"
Kerry's plan, as revealed by The New York Times, 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," and 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, the proposal was a bit baffling if it is all Kerry has to show for the past six months of frantic shuttle diplomacy.
Nearly every proposal put forward by Kerry has been made before, and has been summarily rejected, usually by a Palestinian Authority leadership unwilling to compromise on its hard-line demands.
The following video is a humorous look at how Kerry's proposals sound to an Israeli ear:
The video was spawned from Israeli irritation over what seemed to be a threat made by Kerry that if his proposals did not lead to a final status peace agreement, Israel would be sorry.
"The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott. That will intensify in the case of failure," Kerry told an international security conference in Munich last week.
The official response from Israel was swift and biting.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "The attempts to boycott the State of Israel are not moral or justified. Moreover, they will not achieve their purpose. Firstly, they only serve to make the Palestinians become more entrenched in their stance of refusal. Secondly, no pressure will make me abandon the State of Israel's vital interests, of which security of the civilian population is foremost."
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz: "You can't force the State of Israel to negotiate with a gun to our heads while we are discussing the most critical of our national security interests. If the Palestinians hear that Israel will more or less be destroyed in the event of failure in the negotiations it will only encourage them to try and tear down the peace process."
Economics Minister Naftali Bennett: "We expect our friends around the world to stand by our side to face the anti-Semitic attempts to boycott Israel, not to be their mouthpiece."
Housing Minister Uri Ariel: "The Palestinians can hardly believe how lucky they are to have such a 'fair' mediator. This is what incitement looks like."
Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis: "We were here before Kerry, we'll be here after him as well."
The US State Department later issued a statement insisting that Kerry was not supporting boycotts against Israel, but was merely passing along a friendly warning. The cartoon below expresses precisely how most Israelis view this "friendly warning":
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