Over 100,000 have already been murdered over the last two years in the Syrian civil war. Egypt’s government is teetering in the face of total bankruptcy, Turkey is trying to keep the seeds of an internal uprising under control and Jordan is facing similar type opposition from the population within. Iraq where America spent a decade nation building is moving closer to Iran. The Afghan government is riddled with corruption and in chaos. And on and on it goes.
So which troubled hot spot on the globe is Secretary of State John Kerry spending this coming weekend? Well, since yesterday he is stationed at the King David Hotel in central Jerusalem and from where he shuttles back and forth between the nearby office complex and residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the airport where he will be hopping over to Jordan to spend Saturday afternoon with the king. It’s still good to be king.
Kerry and Presidents Obama’s direction hopes to finally orchestrate a meeting between Palestinian un- elected President Mohammad Abbas and the Israeli PM. Over the last four years Abbas has refused to meet Netanyahu unless the latter agrees to freeze settlement construction in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem (part of Israel’s legal capital city, no matter).
Abbas has been steadfast in his refusal so the State Department lawyers hatched a circuitous legal maneuver that includes promising Abbas $4 billion in aid to temporarily prop up his failing economic enterprise in exchange for him meeting wth Bibi. Despite the US largesse Abbas to this point has refused to budge. This is where the legal minds come into the picture. Here’s the big idea. The meeting will not be considered the start of negotiations. It will rather be a conference between the two to discuss why they cannot agree to finally enter into negotiations to discuss their differences.
Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama believe that meeting is meeting and talking is talking and who cares what they are discussing. The pictures will be worthwhile and perhaps even encouraging. In the meantime I believe that one of the key symptoms of this failure is the fact that Kerry spends his nights at the King David Hotel. If the Secretary of State really wants to make a meaningful gesture toward the process he should spend hos days and nights in a facility in Ramallah which is still only a short commute to Jerusalem.
I think the move will speak volumes on the matter of confidence building. Oh, what’s that—it’s not safe? Is that really a problem? What’s your opinion?