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Obama Prepared to Send Kerry to Mideast for Talks on Gaza

Obama Prepared to Send Kerry to Middle East for Talks on Gazai
Scott Stearns
July 18, 2014 10:47 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says he is prepared to send Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to help end violence between Israel and Hamas fighters in Gaza. As VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports, U.S. officials face a far different political climate than the last cease-fire in Gaza two years ago.
Obama Prepared to Send Kerry to Middle East for Talks on Gaza

U.S. President Barack Obama said he is prepared to send Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to help end violence between Israel and Hamas fighters in Gaza. But American officials face a far different political climate than the last cease-fire in Gaza two years ago.

With Israeli troops across the border in Gaza, international mediators are trying to revive Egyptian efforts to negotiate an end to the fighting.

Obama said he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that U.S. officials are working hard to return to a November 2012 cease-fire.

"Secretary Kerry is working to support Egypt's initiative to pursue that outcome. I told Prime Minister Netanyahu that John is prepared to travel to the region following additional consultations," Obama said.

Hamas opposition

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has met with Arab League officials about the Egyptian plan. But it is opposition from Hamas that is blocking progress - as militant leaders dismiss the plan as "not worth the ink it was written with" -- in their words -- because it includes no relief from the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza's borders.

Hamas' refusal of the deal shows how much has changed since the fall of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, which helped broker the 2012 cease-fire.

"Hamas certainly had a honeymoon with Egypt during the reign or rule of Morsi and the Brotherhood. And that honeymoon is clearly over," said former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli.

Egypt's role

It is over largely because the new Egyptian president, former general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has vowed to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood and is thus far less sympathetic to its Hamas allies.

"Hamas doesn't see Egypt as an honest broker because Hamas -- as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood -- is not treated as a legitimate player by the Egyptian government," said American University professor Guy Ziv. "And I think that because of the lack of trust between Egypt and Hamas it's going to be very difficult to get a cease-fire going that both Hamas and Israel would be OK with."

That leaves Hamas with few other options as Israel continues to move forward.

"To be a broker you've got to be acceptable to both parties. Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab countries with peace treaties with Israel. So they have credibility with the Israelis, justified credibility," Ereli said. "If Hamas doesn't think that Egypt is sufficiently neutral in this they're going to be fighting for a long time."

So U.S. officials say Secretary Kerry will focus much of his diplomatic effort on countries with influence over Hamas, including Turkey and Qatar.

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Comment Sorting
by: Not Again from: Canada
July 20, 2014 5:59 PM
Sending secretary Kerry to the ME, without a clear understanding of the situation, and the required fixes, will just make the situation worse. Mr. Kerry by one of his "off the stage comments" demonstrate that he does not understand, or wants to understand, the basics of terrorism.
TERRORISM = The number one common denominator that characterizes terrorist, and their ethnicity makes no difference, is that they fight using civilian populations as shields, deliberately placing weapons, carrying out attacks from behind innocent civilian populations; the number two basic fundamental is that they plan, carry out, and deliberately target the civilian population of those that oppose their rule; the number three basic fundamental is that terrorists use and even attempt to increase the casualties of civilians for their propaganda purposes, and it does not matter if it is their or their opposition's civilians are the victims; and the fourth basic fundamental is that they carry out very terrible repraisals against their own or their opposition's civilians.
Terrorists' other fundamental is the very culture that they follow, irrespective of their religion or atheism, a culture of extreme violence. We saw these fundamentals in Angola, Cuba, Columbia, Nicaragua, Argentina, Viet-Nam, Laos, Cambodia; now we see it Nigera (Boko Haram), we see these fundamental in Iraq (IS et al), we see these fundamentals in Syria, we see these fundamentals in (Gaza Hamas et al), we see these fundamentals on the Sinai (Hamas et al), we see these fundamentals in Somalia (Al-shabab), we see these fundamentals in Mali, in Libya, Egypt, Ukraine...etc.
The statement, that Kerry voiced, off Camera, unfortunately his microphone was on, shows in my view a a clear lack of comprehension of the fundamentals or he needs to deal with perceived bias.
As in many other terrorist driven conflicts, the total unilateral withdrawl from Gaza, by a great soldier, but, inept political leader, did not bring about peace; on the contrary, since the unilateral unconditional withdrawl from Gaza, three wars have followed, the violence escalated to the point that Israel was forced to impose an embargo; the violence further escalated that even Egypt was forced to put an embargo, against Gaza which has dramatically reduced the violence on the Sinai.
Nothwithstanding the embargoes, Hamas was able to build massive terrorist infrastructure, rather than build housing/schools for Gaza civilians; Hamas was able to acquire massive numbers of weapons, and bring into Gaza huge quantities of precursors to build a significant armaments industry, all of it was done at the expense of the wellbeing normal Palestinian civilians. Never mind the masive demands for cement/concrete from Hamas, all of it to build bunkers and tunnels to attack Israeli civilians.
In my opinion, the recent off camera, remark by Kerry is very concerning, because it shows a mindset that is not adequate to resolve any conflict, less so if terrorists, like Hamas, are involved. The key to solving the Gaza terrorist driven conflict, is DEMILITARIZATION of Gaza, the democratization of Gaza, coupled with the positive development of Gaza, thus creating a better future for the Gaza Palestinians. A cesefire with no demilitarization, will last less than two years.

by: Saul Monella
July 18, 2014 8:43 PM
Oh Boy, Sending Kerry that'll fix everything. Nothing to see here. Move along.

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