OPINION: Any thinking, even the wishful kind, beats abject surrender

Try telling John Kerry there’s only so many ways to skin a cat ­­– or make peace in the Middle East.

The US Secretary of State – dubbed “the hardest working man in diplomacy” by the website politicususa – this week revealed his new plan to resuscitate the moribund talks about talks.

His latest greatest big idea to get both sides talking again would see Israel committing to show “great restraint” to not issue new housing tenders in disputed areas and the Palestinians withdraw their application to join 15 United Nations bodies.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry climbs up the stairs of the plane to leave Tel Aviv this week.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry climbs up the stairs of the plane to leave Tel Aviv this week.

Most controversial, Kerry’s initiative – which by Wednesday night already looked doomed – would see the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in exchange for 400 Palestinian prisoners.

As a US naval intelligence analyst during the mid-1980s, Pollard passed vital security information to Israel, including details of Iraqi, Iranian and Libyan non-conventional weapons programmes.

He was convicted of passing classified information to an ally and received a life sentence with no chance of parole – the most severe penalty ever handed down by a US court for an offence of this nature.

Pollard (who, reportedly, has refused to play any part in a deal that would see the release of Palestinian prisoners), would be free within weeks.

In a region where cautious baby steps seem like giant Neil Armstrong leaps, Kerry’s new push adds up to wishful thinking.

But, then again, with leaders on both sides showing little interest or imagination, at least someone is still thinking.

And after all, any thinking, even the wishful kind, beats abject surrender to the stagnant status quo.

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