JERUSALEM — While President Obama conducts a thorough “reality check” with respect to the role of the U.S. in the seemingly moribund Middle East peace process, his secretary of state is wasting no time in imagining a way around the latest impasse.
In his last-ditch attempt to resuscitate the talks that were all but left for dead this past week after both sides reneged on negotiated promises, Secretary Kerry sought to dig up the legacy of the two individuals believed to represent the last real hope for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His immediate goal is to convince former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and erstwhile chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Yasser Arafat to recommit to the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, which had been memorialized in their historic handshake at the White House over two decades ago.
“If only it were that easy,” whispered Undersecretary of State Henrietta Roberts in an attempt to avoid disturbing Kerry, who was lost in reverie during his latest shuttle diplomacy effort and clutching a picture of the earlier signing ceremony.
She further explained that nobody in the Obama administration yet has been able to convince the perpetually jetlagged and quixotic secretary that his presumed saviors, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, are “indisposed for the indefinite future” and “in a better place, never to return to face this bloody-minded world.”
Roberts insisted that, “Nobody wants a deal more than John [Kerry].
“Sometimes,” she added, “I think he wants it even more than the Israelis and Palestinians—they’ve already sealed their legacy. John is still struggling to establish his since losing the presidency in 2004.”
Since joining President Obama’s cabinet, Kerry has dedicated over a dozen trips to the Middle East and countless hours on the phone working towards his stated goal of achieving a final status agreement within nine months. According to that ambitious timeline, he has less than a month to resolve the many remaining conflicts.
While Kerry previously has acknowledged others’ skepticism regarding his grand objective, “I don’t share it, and I don’t think we have time for it,” he affirmed.
According to Tzipi Livni, Israel’s justice minister, Kerry maintains “failure is not an option” and “nothing can stop true believers.”
Said Livni, “There’s no question Kerry is a believer, which is why I don’t want to be the one to tell him that Santa Claus isn’t real and he might not get his special wish. He’d be completely crestfallen.”
At press time, Kerry was anxiously waiting for a return call from Rabin’s office to schedule a meeting.
“That’s funny,” said Kerry, “Rabin still has one of those antediluvian tape-based answering machines.”