Secretary of State Kerry is desperate to make an announcement of renewed talks, any talks. As ever, his #1 concern is looking good (literally and figuratively). Prime Minister Netanyahu just wants Kerry off his back because he is anguished over the just-announced EU sanctions which will penalize Israeli institutions that support the settlement enterprise. If the sanctions actually take effect, he will look weak and, even worse, he could be viewed as having produced the “delegitimization” of the occupation.
This is what I think happened:
Kerry: Bibi, my dear friend, please do me a solid. Just let me announce negotiations.
Bibi: Beat it, geezer. You are getting on my nerves.
Kerry: Thanks a lot. My wife is sick and you can’t even help a brother out.
Bibi: No way.
Kerry: Uh, you know those EU sanctions?
Bibi: I’m surprised you would mention them. You did fuck all to make them go away.
Kerry: Well, we could do something.
Bibi: You mean…
Kerry: I mean you agree to a non-binding peace talks formula. Actually, you agree to nothing. You just agree to allow the United States to state that we favor negotiations based on the ’67 lines which, by the way, has always been our position although you don’t let us say it.
Bibi: But we don’t have to agree that the ’67 borders have any validity.
Kerry: No, of course not. No, but you allow us to say it.
Bibi: I don’t know if I can permit that. Wait…Can you also say that the United States accepts the position that Israel be recognized “as a Jewish state.” That is AIPAC’s position too and you do have elections coming up, my friend.
Kerry: That isn’t a problem. The donors will love that. Also, Susan Rice, Samantha Power and your next senator, I mean our next Democratic senator, Cory Booker, want us to say that,
Bibi: I love Cory. Anyway, if we agree to that, you will get the EU to drop the sanctions?
Kerry: Yes. But you also have to let out some Palestinian prisoners you have been holding since 1993.
Bibi: We’ll just arrest them again.
Kerry: Whatever. So we have a deal. I get to make an announcement and we get the EU to drop sanctions on settlements.
Bibi: Yes, here’s a tip. Start with Germany. They live in terror that I’ll, you know, say the word Holocaust.
Bibi: You know I’m not giving up the West Bank or freezing settlements or anything.
Kerry: And we’d never ask you too. By the way, there may be more money coming your way.
Bibi: Yeah, Cantor and Schumer told me.
Kerry: Thank you, Bibi. You are a great man.
Bibi: I know. Love to Teresa.
Kerry: And love to you and your Cabinet. Don’t forget to watch my announcement on CNN. I’ll be wearing that tie Sarah gave me.
Next: Kerry makes announcement. The Israel lobby from J Street to former Ambassador Indyk cheer. And, almost immediately, Germany announces it does not support sanctions. Next up, UK and France.
The Palestinians and America’s honor: screwed. Same as it ever was.