John Kerry on Israel’s Role in the Rise of the Islamic State and the Barbaric Burning of People Alive

Ronan L Tynan

US Secretary of State John Kerry made a very important statement in the State Department in Washington on October 16th last year, in which he linked the rise of ISIS or Islamic State to the failure of the peace process between Israel and Palestine. Unsurprisingly perhaps his remarks elicited an angry response from pro Israeli groups in the United States who interpreted his remarks as an attack on Israel, because they saw him blaming the Israelis for the rise of Islamic State. Given that it is widely accepted that Israel wrecked Kerry’s peace making efforts in 2014 through their constant building of illegal settlements, they were right to feel so defensive. In other words, Israel now maintains an apparent tenacious commitment under Prime Minister Netanyahu to a one state solution that will inevitably transform Israel formally into some type of apartheid reality with a substantial population of second class citizens. The latter represents the status quo given the highly repressive approach of the Israelis in the occupied territories, and the on-going siege of Gaza – (in spite of a commitment to relax it as part of the cease fire which has not been honoured) – and is now in its 8th year.

However, it is worth reading John Kerry comment which so offended the Israelis, to understand why many people do indeed see the failure of Israel to make peace with the Palestinians as one of the direct causes for the rise of Islamic State: “….there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to. And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity,..”1

The “cause of a lot of recruitment and of street anger and agitation,” in John Kerry’s words, arguing we “need to understand the connection” and most importantly has “something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity..” Well the Israelis were right to be so defensive , but worse still, they went on a campaign of slaughter in Gaza that not only reduced it to rubble but also left more than 2,150 Palestinians dead, including more than 520 children, several thousand wounded and a staggering 370,000 children in need of psychological treatment, according to UNICEF, after being subjected to heavy Israeli bombing for 50 days. Meanwhile, little or no rebuilding has taken place and the promised funds at the Cairo conference have not been delivered!

The horrific burning alive of the Jordanian pilot in an act of barbaric cruelty by Islamic State brought back John Kerry’s words to me.  We cannot blame Netanyahu and his government for that horrendous crime, but we can help secure their indictment before the International Criminal Court for burning alive civilians in their own homes in Gaza, especially through the alleged use of white phosphorous. The disfiguring burns especially on children who escaped being burned alive by Israel would appear to suggest that the latter incendiary weapon was used or some equivalent.

Islamic State and Israel are uniquely connected in fomenting a cycle of hatred and slaughter in the Middle East. As EU citizens we directly subsidise Israel burning children, women and men alive in Gaza through the EU-Israel Association agreement, and our failure to suspend that agreement and launch a comprehensive boycott makes us complicit in these crimes because Israel under Netanyahu has effectively refused to make peace.


1 Remarks at a Reception in Honor of Eid al-Adha, Washington, DC, October 16, 2014:

Ronan L Tynan

Twitter: @RonanLTynan


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