Oh dear. Not a clue? How about, the Americans were desperately trying to appease the Palestinians, and in order to get them to continue the charade, they had to make dramatic claims about how much they were getting from the Israelis. So even as they promised much to the Palestinians, they asked nothing from them. The talks fell apart because “both sides” couldn’t even agree on how to extend them, the Israelis no longer willing to make concessions, the Palestinians adding further conditions.

Herzog assesses Kerry generously:

On the U.S. side, which played a dominant role in all aspects of the process, Kerry should be lauded for his commitment, determination, and intelligence, and for his indispensable role in propelling the process, even though it never stood a chance and he wasted everyone’s time to give a victory to those who stood by and let him and the Israelis spin. He definitely does not deserve the slander directed at him by some Israelis. His self-impose mission was unenviable in that he was struggling to negotiate simultaneously with Israelis, Palestinians, and the White House. Still, he did not fully grasp (have a clue to) the psychology of the parties or the not-so delicate nuances of their relations.

On the contrary, Kerry behaved like a possessed (messianic) fool from start to finish: he learned nothing, and so he nursed his grudges against Israel whom he blamed, while letting the Palestinians off scot free. But his truly odious behavior — what earned him the “slander directed at him by some Israelis” came when he then proceeded to make things infinitely worse, first with Samantha Power at the UN (Resolution 2334), and then with his deplorable speech, in which he blamed Israeli settlements for the failure.

Question: If a phobia is an irrational fear, what’s the term for an irrational lack of fear?

Answer: Stupidity.

And the Oscar for Own-Goal Diplomacy and Astounding (messianically-induced) Stupidity combined with mean-spirited scapegoating goes to John Kerry, who richly deserves criticism not for killing the mannequin as some commentators on Herzog’s piece claim, but for insisting it was alive and blaming Israel for killing it.


In his conclusion, Herzog comments on Abbas’ strategy:

As far as Abbas is concerned, deep into the process he was still oscillating between three strategies at the same time: negotiating with Israel and the United States, promoting statehood through the international community, and reconciling with Hamas. In his mind, they were not mutually exclusive.

For Herzog, Abbas is torn between the three “deep in the process.” Hopefully this is more diplomatic nicety. Does it not even enter his mind that Abbas used all three strategies with deliberation from the start: he pretended to negotiate, used Hamas to doom the talks, and prepared to go to the international community with failed talks as his excuse.

Maybe it’s best not to realize you’ve been played for a fool by both your alleged negotiating partners. Who knows, you might get indignant.