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02/21/2013

Advice to John Kerry: 'Ignore the Israelis and Palestinians, it's good for them'

Kerry
John Kerry. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Aaron David Miller, seasoned Middle East observer and former adviser to six American secretaries of state writes it's not a bad thing that new Secretary of State John Kerry won't visit Israel on his trip to the Middle East. Israel has just had an election. 

"At best Kerry’s trip would be a distraction during a very sensitive time; and at worst be perceived to be interference at a moment when the focus in Israel is internal horse trading not diplomacy. Kerry’s visit would only confuse matters further or be deemed not relevant. That’s not good for him or America." 

And that there is more to American diplomacy that the Israeli-Palestinian crisis:  

"Kerry’s first trip, though focused on the Middle East, to be sure needs to be broader and more statesman-like than signaling his interest in the interminable shepherd’s war between Israelis and Palestinians . Kerry needs to start macro and then go micro. Meet the allies; consult; do secretary of state like things. Get the big strategic picture with regard to the Euros and the Russians and focus on Iran and Syria too. After all the two most kinetic issues in the region are an imploding Syria and the mullahs’ spinning centrifuges. Ignore the Israelis and Palestinians for now; it will be good for them." 

Hamida Ghafour is a foreign affairs reporter at The Star. She has lived and worked in the Middle East and Asia for more than 10 years and is the author of a book on Afghanistan. Follow her on Twitter @HamidaGhafour

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