John Kerry is taking so much flak from Israelis for his latest peace-making efforts in Gaza that the White House made a point yesterday to declare that "Israel has no better friend, no stronger defender" than Kerry, reports the Hill. But at the Washington Post, columnist David Ignatius thinks Israelis, as well as moderate Palestinians, are justified in their criticism because Kerry "has made a significant mistake"—in his mission to get a cease-fire in place as quickly as possible, he gave too much ground to Hamas and thus "solidified" the Islamist group's role in Gaza for the near future.
"A wiser course, which Kerry rejected in his hunt for a quick diplomatic solution, would have been to negotiate the cease-fire through the Palestinian Authority, as part of its future role as the government of Gaza," writes Ignatius. Kerry's blunder came after Hamas rejected a cease-fire proposed by Egypt. In his desperation to stop the bombs, the secretary of state immediately turned to the group's "hard-line Islamist" backers, Qatar and Turkey. "Any deal that reinforces Hamas’s stranglehold—rather than building a path toward change of government, elections, and eventual disarmament—is misconceived," writes Ignatius. Kerry's diplomacy was meant to stop bloodshed; instead, "it all but guarantees it in the future." Click for his full column.