The Washington Post in an editorial on the peace process heaps scorn on Secretary of State John Kerry’s policies and suggests replacing the frenetic shuttle diplomacy with a low-key, pragmatic approach.
The editorial derided Kerry’s nine months of non-stop pressure on Israel and the Palestinians to come to terms as “quixotic,” and said he should focus on more urgent and tractable problems elsewhere.
“The secretary’s intense focus on trying to wring compromise from Israeli and Palestinian leaders well known for their recalcitrance never made much sense; his energies would be much better spent developing workable strategies for the civil war in Syria, the growing threat of al-Qaida in the region and Egypt’s reversion to dictatorship, not to mention troubles in other parts of the world,” the editors wrote.
The Post dismissed the notion of a “pause” in negotiations, branding it a “failure” and called for serious consideration of the way forward now that the inevitable has arrived.
First, however, they warn against one of Washington’s “hoariest bad ideas, the issuance of a detailed U.S. plan for Palestinian statehood. That, too, would satisfy some partisans but lead nowhere.” Kerry, who has hinted at it, should drop the idea.
“Low-profile but practical measures by both Israel and the United States would be far more helpful. There is much Israel could do to … stimulate the Palestinian economy through the removal of checkpoints, loosening of controls on exports, and facilitation of new housing and businesses. Mr. Kerry once spoke of launching an economic development plan for the [Palestinians]; now would be the time to see that through.”
Addressing the unity pact with Hamas, the editors note that “Corruption [in the Palestinian Authority] has steadily increased, as have human rights abuses. New elections should be held, with the proviso that groups advocating violence are excluded. … The Obama administration should place that principle at the center of a new, more pragmatic policy.”