The Magazine

The Tinkerbell Effect

Apr 21, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 30 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
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And remember, this comes after various bribes were paid to the Palestinians to get them to come to the negotiating table after four years of refusal—Barack Obama’s entire first term. One of those bribes was the release of 78 murderers from Israeli jails—Palestinian terrorists who were granted a hero’s welcome upon returning home. This is the rebuttal to those who believe Kerry’s 15 months of efforts have produced nothing at all: Seventy-eight killers are free, anyway. It is also the rebuttal to those who think that efforts like Kerry’s may of course fail but come at little cost: Freeing killers is a cost. Failure for the United States is a cost. And now, blaming Israel and thereby damaging U.S.-Israel relations is another cost.

Kerry gets an A for effort, to be sure, and was sincere and dogged throughout these 15 months of exertion. He displayed a deep desire to help both sides move forward. But his own vanity got in the way of a sober assessment of the chances for success, and the failure of the effort—even if sooner or later the two sides do sit down together again—diminishes his own prestige and effectiveness as our top diplomat. It’s past time for the administration to keep him home and spend a while rethinking five years of failed Middle East policy. “Clap your hands; don’t let Tink die” doesn’t make the grade.

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