Is John Kerry Wasting Time With Quixotic Middle East Peace Push?

Little To Show for 100K Miles of Frantic Flying — So Far

Lone Ranger: Is John Kerry headed for failure in the Middle East?
getty images
Lone Ranger: Is John Kerry headed for failure in the Middle East?

By Reuters

Published June 02, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

Nearly 20 years after the Israelis and Palestinians formally began their peace process through the Oslo Accords, there is deep skepticism on both sides that peace is possible.

Among the issues to be settled in any agreement to end the more than six-decade conflict are borders, the future of Jewish settlements on the West Bank, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.

Palestinian officials have said Kerry has given them until June 7 to let the United States know whether they are serious about the possibility of reviving peace talks.

While Kerry has not explicitly confirmed the deadline - and it could be extended - on May 24 he said “we’re getting towards a time now where hard decisions need to be made.”

Even before taking office, Kerry made no secret of his desire to try to solve the conflict. But he has acknowledged the deep skepticism, saying a week ago that “it is famously reputed to be diplomatic quicksand.”

Having spent most of his career in the U.S. Senate, where personal relationships are vital to getting things done, Kerry believes in the virtue of face-to-face diplomacy and has used his facility with languages to slip into French, German, Italian and even, occasionally, a word of Arabic to charm audiences.

He also makes a point of visiting cultural icons when abroad, laying a wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, touring Tokyo’s Zojo-ji Temple and paying his respects at Ataturk’s Tomb in Ankara.

However, he has been subjected to some withering criticism.

“Despite his good intentions, Kerry so far looks like a naive and ham-handed diplomat who has been acting like a bull in the china shop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” wrote Barak Ravid, diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

For all Kerry’s efforts, questions linger about whether U.S. President Barack Obama has any real willingness to try a second time on Middle East peace, having promised to make it a priority at the start of his first term but failing to make any progress.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.