"I take no pleasure in this gloomy appraisal, and I will be genuinely delighted to be proved wrong here. I'm prepared to eat my words, but alas, I fear I won't have to."
Yousef Munayyer at the Jerusalem Fund, before the announcement, wanted to have faith in the process, but addressed the ability of the lobby to short-circuit any pressure on Netanyahu.
"The incentives, for all parties, are structured toward having talks for the sake of having talks and not for them to succeed.
"The reason for this problem is simple. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians believe that the United States will exert the necessary pressure on Israel during negotiations to get them to agree to a just peace...
"If Kerry wants to succeed, triumph over cynicism and start talks aimed at more than just talking, he can only do so by shaking things up dramatically and sending the parties, specifically Israel, a message that will leave them uncomfortable and force them to recalculate their policies. Coddling has long since proven a failure.
"Of course to actually press Israel, Kerry, Obama and their allies must be prepared to deal with the domestic political backlash. With Egypt and Syria erupting and devolving, pro-Israel voices will be even quicker to assert that this is not the time for any U.S. pressure on Israel.
"So then here is the true test of John Kerry's commitment. It is not something that can be measured in trips taken to the region, miles traveled or meetings held. Rather, it can only be through the willingness to take a political risk at a time when it is most inconvenient to do so.
"Short of this, Israeli colonization of the West Bank will continue unabated and the peace can will be kicked down the road for the next White House occupant to deal with.
"Benjamin Netanyahu, who knows this all too well, sleeps comfortably because of it.
"It's time he got a rude awakening."
Three days ago at a press conference in Amman with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, who has played a lead role in this effort, Kerry indicated the lineaments of the new understanding in the Arab Peace Initiative that is over 10 years old and is based on the '67 borders, and in economic collaboration efforts -- to normalize relations between Israelis and Palestinians without ending the occupation.
"And the Arab Peace Initiative, which [Jordanian] King Abdullah put forward a number of years ago, I have said before, was a very important departure point and one which never received the full attention and focus that it should have.
"I'm glad that it is today because it promises to open up significant potential for normalized relations, for the potential for trade and growth in historic and very important ways. And it promises Israel -- Israel needs to look hard at this initiative, which promises Israel peace with 22 Arab nations and 35 Muslim nations, a total of 57 nations that are standing and waiting for the possibility of making peace with Israel.
"Their willingness that they brought to Washington in April was very significant, because at that time they not only restated the commitment to a two-state solution, the only solution that is real, but they also included the potential of land swaps, as a mechanism for achieving that solution. And that was another historic moment and historic departure by the Arab community."
Here's his statement about folks investing in the peace process -- which Nadia Hijab specifically faulted, above:
"What we have designed together with major business leaders and particularly the leadership of a number of consultants of major international consultant firms who have now compiled about eight years of man-hours through two months of work, and they have done an analysis of the economic challenges of the Palestinian territories, looking at the sectors of the economy -- tourism, manufacturing, infrastructure, energy, water, and so forth. And the analysis has been made with a view to trying to figure out: How do we have a transformative initiative that actually impacts the lives of Palestinians in a way that they will feel quickly, not rhetorical, but real, on-the-ground steps?