Kerry made another push for peace in the Middle East, but the whole discourse gives Israel the upper hand
As 2017 dawns, the ghost of Lord Balfour still haunts us. Just as the British foreign secretary’s 1917 declaration considered only how the Zionist movement could serve the interests of the greatest power of its day, so has the recent speech of the US secretary of state, John Kerry, advocating a two-state solution addressed mainly the interests of today’s superpower and its protégé, Israel. There has been some progress since 1917: there is no mention whatsoever of Palestinians or Arabs in the Balfour Declaration, whereas Kerry paid ample lip service to the Palestinians, albeit always in relation to Israel’s concerns and desires.
Lost in the uproar caused in some circles by the condemnation of Israeli settlements embodied in Kerry’s speech and in UN security council resolution 2334 is the fact that, in line with previous US policies on Palestine, both ignore basic rights of the Palestinian people, and the requirements of international law, of justice and of equity.
However, this is not just about Israel’s metastasizing colonial settlement project, important though that is. Much as they may have enraged Israel’s government and its American enablers, the Obama/Kerry parameters and UNSC 2334 are simply inadequate as the basis for a lasting solution. This problem did not start in 1967, and it will not disappear simply by resolving the settlement issue, which in any case neither parameters nor resolution will do.