By Barry Rubin

Secretary of State John Kerry doesn’t seem to grasp his job. Now he has referred to Palestine as a country already. He said:

“It’s my hope that…as procedures are put in place both countries in order to empower” progress toward peace

Of course, it was a slip of the tongue. Yet the secretary of state is not supposed to contradict directly policy. The U.S. position is that Palestine is not yet a country and won’t be unless it makes peace with Israel on terms that Israel will accept. This comes in a little document known informally as the 1993 Oslo agreement.

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Last year, the United States fought hard in the UN against acceptance of Palestine as a state. What escaped any notice is that the Obama Administration didn’t get to work until almost a year after it was clear that this was the strategy of the Palestinian Authority (PA), not to make peace with Israel but to go around it and try to get a state unilaterally.

If the Obama Administration had done its job and threatened the PA against such an action, it probably would have stopped it.

If the Obama Administration had done its job and pressured allies and clients against voting for such a thing, it probably would have persuaded them.

Now the U.S. government is begging the PA—a body that doesn’t even control the Gaza Strip where another government is in power that opposes a deal and openly advocates committing genocide against its supposed interlocutor!—to do something, anything, to let is support statehood.

But no deal will happen because why should the PA make any concession—including anything that would block the PA or Hamas from continuing their long-term effort to wipe Israel off the map—if it can hope to get everything for nothing.

Mind you, I’m not saying they will ever succeed in doing that but they will keep trying.
Remember that direct negotiations have basically been going on for 22 years and they will probably go on for much longer, especially with these tactics.

NBC executive: “How is that a show?”

Jerry Seinfeld [pitching a show] : “Well, uh, maybe something happens on the way to work.”

NBC executive: “No, nothing happens…”

Seinfeld: “Well. Something happens.”

NBC executive: Well, why am I watching it?

George Costanza: Because it’s on TV.

NBC executive: “Not yet.”

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Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs
(GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International
Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press.
Other recent books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition),
The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle
East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center and of his blog, Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.