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Friday, August 1, 2014

Krauthammer: Clueless John Kerry

John Kerry is upset by heavy criticism from Israelis — left, right and center— of his recent cease-fire diplomacy. But that’s only half the story. More significant is the consternation of America’s Arab partners, starting with the president of the Palestinian Authority. Mahmoud Abbas was stunned that Kerry would fly off to Paris to negotiate with Hamas allies Qatar and Turkey in talks that excluded the PA and Egypt.
The talks also undermined Egypt’s cease-fire proposal, which Israel had accepted and Hamas rejected (and would have prevented the vast majority of the casualties on both sides). “Kerry tried through his latest plan to destroy the Egyptian bid,” charged a senior Palestinian official quoted in the Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat — a peace plan that the PA itself had supported.
It gets worse. Kerry did not just trample an Egyptian initiative. It was backed by the entire Arab League and specifically praised by Saudi Arabia. With the exception of Qatar — more a bank than a country — the Arabs are unanimous in wanting to see Hamas weakened, if not overthrown. The cease-fire-in-place they backed would have denied Hamas any reward for starting this war, while what Kerry brought back from Paris granted practically all of its demands.
Which is what provoked the severe criticism Kerry received at home. When as respected and scrupulously independent a national security expert asDavid Ignatius calls Kerry’s intervention a blunder, you know this is not partisan carping from the usual suspects. This is general amazement at Kerry’s cluelessness.

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