Posted by: Patrick Allen Foster | August 1, 2013

John Kerry on Peace in the Middle East

US Secretary of State John Kerry held a press conference on July 30 with Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. Kerry will be mediating talks between the two sides, starting in two weeks. The Jerusalem Post has this report, and Haaretz has this story.

Most of Kerry’s remarks in the press conference were pretty, well, unremarkable. That is, his speech largely consisted of standard diplomatic platitudes. However, one line did catch my attention, and I want briefly to note it.

Said Secretary Kerry (emphasis added): “We all understand the goal that we’re working towards: two states living side by side in peace and security. Two states because two proud peoples each deserve a country to call their own. Two states because the children of both peoples deserve the opportunity to realize their legitimate aspirations in security and in freedom. And two states because the time has come for a lasting peace.”

As opposed to the Druze, who I guess are…not a proud people? (At least according to Secretary Kerry’s unspoken criteria.) Who do not deserve a country to call their own? I guess the Kurds aren’t a proud people either.

Maybe I shouldn’t pick on Kerry too much. I do happen to agree that, in the current circumstances of the Middle East, a two-state solution has the best chance for successfully allowing Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side as peaceful neighbors. And maybe that “proud peoples” line is just a bit of throw-away rhetoric. Still, did anyone consider the implications of “proud peoples each deserve a country to call their own”? Are the Cherokee a proud people?

As for the peace negotiations themselves, I try to be hopeful, but whatever optimism I may have is tempered by the history of previous negotiations. Also, I can’t help thinking that this Onion article is pretty much on target: “Man Who Couldn’t Defeat George W. Bush Attempting To Resolve Israel-Palestine Conflict.”

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