Surely Secretary of State John Kerry knows of the extensive labyrinth of tunnels in Gaza. Surely he knows that far beyond the rockets these pose a mortal threat to Israel that no country would accept. And surely he knows that the Israeli military is meticulously searching and destroying the tunnels and that this will take time, perhaps weeks and not days. Then why in the world would he publicly offer a truce proposal, especially one purportedly dressed up with some pro-Hamas goodies from Qatar?
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (3rd L) and Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri (3rd R) speak with delegations during an expanded meeting in Cairo July 22, 2014. Kerry began a diplomatic push on Monday to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, but senior U.S. officials acknowledged this would be difficult. More than 500 people have died in the Gaza Strip fighting, the vast majority of them Palestinians, as Israel has pursued an air and ground offensive to stop rocket attacks on its territory from the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip. REUTERS/Charles Dharapak/Pool (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Secretary of State John Kerry, third from left, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, third from right, speak with delegations during a meeting in Cairo on Tuesday. (Pool photo by Charles Dharapak/Reuters)
One explanation is that he is foolish beyond our wildest imagination, entirely disconnected from reality. He maybe thinks Israel bluffs like his boss does, or maybe he does not understand that Israel’s “right to defend itself” must include destruction of the tunnels. Perhaps he is deluded to think Israel wouldn’t publicly spurn him.
Another possibility is that this is yet one more sign of President Obama’s antipathy toward Israel. He’d rather Israel not complete its task, not eradicate Iran’s agents and not demonstrate that hard power is not only available but also essential to defeat those who would destroy you. There might be some extended rationale for this, but it boils down to Obama’s determination to appease bad actors in the cause of a temporary cessation in violence.
In either case, Obama and Kerry have more egg on their faces, having just reinforced how irrelevant to the Middle East they have become. If anything, we’ve learned that the president is content to let events play out. His “policy,” whether with Iran or Russia, consists of wishful thinking and empty threats. And we’ve also learned that Israel will pay a great price in blood, treasure and diplomatic vilification to survive. No, the Jewish state is not going to commit national suicide. That is true when it comes to Hamas, and Iran is well. Israel is simply not going to allow itself to be bullied into surrender, which is what leaving deadly tunnels in place would amount to.
Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.