Avoiding the Out-with-a-Whimper Factor

January 5, 2017 West Bank conflict 0 Comments

Obama, Kerry and Peres.

I’m glad, but puzzled,about the Obama Admin end-of-term defiant advocacy for the two-state solution. The timing came on days when most people were shopping, drinking or fighting: first, the Dec. 23 US abstention on the Security Council resolution condemning settlements, followed by John Kerry’s forceful Dec. 28 two-state solution speech.

Why did Obama and Kerry choose to go petulant on Israel-Palestine? Yes, Obama is furiously issuing thousands of executive orders to impede the coming Trump apocalypse. Yet somehow a bold end-of-term foreign policy declaration seems a bit like a Trumpish temper tantrum.

The standard view is that Obama and Kerry felt compelled to state their moral positions and to secure their legacies. But is that constructive? Does saying the right thing, a month before the inauguration, do anything other than contribute to instability? Does it slow Trump down? If they couldn’t take a stand over the past two years, why start now?

Pretty Murky. However, that said, I still commend the restatement of the framework. We may be coming back to it pretty quickly — there’s a good chance that the Trump extremist plan to appoint a pro-settler fanatic as ambassador, support annexation of the West Bank, and move the embassy could destabilize the West Bank. A major surge in violence wouldn’t be a surprise. Perhaps Palestinian political upheaval.  If things fall apart, the apostates come back to the two-state solution.

A disastrous Trump meltdown and four-year term also wouldn’t be a surprise. Whatever new administration that comes in after 2020 could use the Obama-Kerry final framework in a new attempt to restore sanity to Israel-Palestine.