Gershon Baskin says to John Kerry: Mr. Kerry: use your frequent flyer miles somewhere else, surely some other countries in the world can better use your initiatives.
The last thing that we need here is another American-led peace initiative.
The Al-Aqsa round of violence is a Middle East problem and its solution needs to be “cooked” in a Middle Eastern kitchen. We don’t need the American chef pushing himself into the kitchen.
If what has been reported is true – that Kerry is planning to bring Netanyahu, Abbas and King Abdallah together but will prevent them from talking to each other by conducting bi-lateral shuttle diplomacy from one room to another, thereby controlling the process – then I say to Mr. Kerry: use your frequent flyer miles somewhere else, surely some other countries in the world can better use your initiatives.
I do call on King Abdallah to take the lead role in place of Kerry. We do need a joint Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian agreement on keeping the status quo on Al Aqsa/the Temple Mount which includes a definition of what that means and because of the enormous mistrust between all of the parties – an international mechanism to monitor and verify what happens on the mount.
Such an initiative led by King Abdallah is likely to be accepted both by Netanyahu and Abbas despite initial hesitation which should be expected from Netanyahu because of the international monitoring mechanism. Because this is the surest way to lay to rest this round of violence, there is an increased possibility that Netanyahu will cave in and accept it.
Gershon is an advisor to Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process and the founder and director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute. He was the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis of which 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Jewish targets that resulted in the killing of 569 Israelis in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Gershon is actively involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics, culture and in the development of affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.