CMEP Bulletin: Recap for Week of July 1st
Little news has emerged from Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest trip to the region. According to The New York Times, “Whether there is any substantive narrowing of differences between the two sides is unknown. Mr. Kerry’s determination to maintain secrecy is frustrating to anyone following his mission but also tactical, since unveiling details prematurely is more likely to back Israelis and Palestinians into opposite corners.”
While there may have not been a breakthrough last week, here are some articles that we are reading about Kerry’s efforts on this holiday weekend:
Kerry Sees Progress in Effort to Revive Mideast Talks [New York Times] “After four days of the most intense Middle East peace push in years, Secretary of State John Kerry left Israel on Sunday without securing a public commitment that the two sides would return to the negotiating table, though he insisted that ‘real progress’ had been made and said that a resumption of talks ‘could be within reach.’”
John Kerry’s Middle East peace effort tests his optimism [Los Angeles Times] “Kerry says he’s undeterred by the criticism. He has kept secret the details of his discussions with Israelis and Palestinians. But it is clear that he is trying to accumulate enough concessions from each side to give the other the political cover needed to restart negotiations.
His method is simple: He has parked himself on the leaders’ doorsteps and refused to go away. With high confidence in his salesmanship, he’s talked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during some periods every day and to Abbas nearly that often, officials say.
He’s made it clear that he is prepared to lay blame on those who won’t cooperate. That’s a serious threat, because the Palestinians need American funding, and Israel is counting on Washington to deal with the threat of Iran’s nuclear program.”
The Scourge of Skepticism [Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street] “I’m not surprised when the negativity comes from opponents of a two-state solution. They don’t see ending the conflict as either an existential necessity for Israel or an American national interest.
But when the intense negativity and cynicism comes from those who purport to share the Secretary’s end goal, it irks me.
What we need from those who recognize the importance of the Secretary’s work isn’t a recounting of the reasons why this may not work but their help in building momentum and pressing the leaders on all sides to make it a success.”
Why Cautious Optimism is the Right Approach to Kerry’s Efforts [Alan Elsner, The Daily Beast] “It would be foolish to dismiss the immense difficulties that lie ahead—but it is equally irresponsible to condemn Kerry’s efforts to failure before we know the outcome.
The fact is, he has been delving deep into the core issues in his talks with the parties in an effort not only to iron out the conditions for a return to negotiations but also to set the parameters of the talks in a way that maximizes the chances of success.”