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Kerry battles Israel’s complacency

Israel’s political leaders do not share anything close to the US secretary of state’s urgency to reach an agreement with the Palestinians.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks past American (back) and Israeli flags at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv January 6, 2014.  REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX173RK

During the darkest days of the second intifada, Israel’s then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon famously demanded “seven days of quiet” as a condition for negotiations. Who remembers that at that time diplomatic efforts focused on implementation of the Tenet Plan and the first Mitchell report calling for a freeze on settlements

Well, the seven days of quiet is now more than seven years. The guards sitting at the entrance of every Israeli cafe have long since disappeared, and the walls Israel is building around itself contribute to a renewed sense of security. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in no hurry to upset a deluxe occupation that enables Israel to consolidate its hold on the West Bank and exploit what he sees as an unprecedented opportunity for Israel, if not to make peace with the Arabs, then to make “strategic gains” at their expense in the wake of a historic collapse of Arab power.

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