Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Palestinians, Israelis Need More Mediators

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Palestinians, Israelis Need More Mediators

Article excerpt

It is very hard not to be shockingly disappointed to learn that Secretary of State John Kerry has now "apologize[d]," as The New York Times reported, for saying that Israel "risked becoming an apartheid state" if it did not negotiate an agreement that would lead to "an independent Palestinian state."

The Daily Beast, an online publication, reported exclusively that Kerry was speaking April 25 behind closed doors to a group of influential world leaders from the U.S., Western Europe, Russia and Japan known as the Trilateral Commission.

"A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative," he said, "because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens-or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state."

Kerry's remarks have precipitated an outcry among pro-Israel organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which claimed that Israel "protects the rights of minorities regardless of ethnicity or religion."

But J Street, a pro-peace American Jewish organization, responded that "instead of putting energy into attacking Secretary Kerry, those who are upset with the secretary's use of the term should put their energy into opposing and changing the policies that are leading Israel down this road."

The term "apartheid state" vis-à-vis Israel has been used in the past by both Israeli and American leaders, including Ehud Barak, a former prime minister, and President Jimmy Carter, whose book is titled Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (available from the AET?Bookstore). More to the point, Carter has said publicly that his views on Israeli treatment of the Palestinians are a main cause of his poor relationship with President Barack Obama and his lack of current communication with the White House.

"Apartheid is a word that is an accurate description of what has been going on in the [Israeli-occupied] West Bank and it's based on the desire or avarice of a minority of Israelis for Palestinian land," Carter said, according to Mondoweiss.net.

In 2010, Barak declared that "as long as in this [Israeli-occupied Palestinian] territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel, it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic," adding, "if this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state. …

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