Robert Fisk — The Independent Aug 5, 2013
So John Kerry is going to pull it off, wolves sitting down with lambs, swords into ploughshares, two states, the whole shebang. The EU was daring enough at the time of Kerry’s announcement of Israeli-Palestinian talks to inform the Israelis of their guidelines barring support for anyone operating from Israeli colonies illegally built on Arab land.
Time was (Carter/Clinton) when the US would call the colonies – or “Jewish settlements” – “unhelpful”. But blow me down, Washington has now told us the EU’s statement was “unhelpful”. This is weird. Israeli colonies built on land stolen from Arabs were “unhelpful”. But now the EU’s rules reflecting this “unhelpful” state of affairs are themselves “unhelpful”.
As usual, you have to turn to Israeli writers to sniff what’s wrong with the whole Kerry fandango. Uri Avnery last week raised the question of Martin Indyk’s role as chief US negotiator. He called it “a problematic choice”, because Indyk “is Jewish and much involved in Jewish and Zionist activity”. While acknowledging that Indyk is also criticised by the Israeli right because he’s involved in left-wing Israeli activities, Avnery then makes the point that Western editorialists never dare to: “Palestinians may well ask whether among the 300 million US citizens there is not a single non-Jew who can manage this job. For many years now almost all American officials dealing with the Israeli-Arab problem have been Jews… If the US had been called upon to referee negotiations between, say, Egypt and Ethiopia, would they have appointed an Ethiopian-American?”
But forgetting Indyk for a moment, what are the chances of two states? Chatting to Jon Snow on Channel 4 last week, Matt Frei suggested he would put $10 on success. What mischief! I’ll put 10 cents on success. No, call that one cent.