The Globe reports today on a white paper released last week by Kerry's campaign outlining his position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Entitled "John Kerry: Strengthening Israel's Security and Bolstering the US-Israel Special Relationship," it is critical of the Palestinian leadership and affirms several Israeli policies. You can read it at Electronic Initifada or Jews for Kerry, as is your wont.
Israel's Security Fence Is A Legitimate Right of Self Defense
John Kerry supports the construction of Israel's security fence to stop terrorists from entering Israel. The security fence is a legitimate act of self defense erected in response to the wave of terror attacks against Israeli citizens. He believes the security fence is not a matter for the International Court of Justice.
Personally, I find the majority of Israel's objections to the case (as elucidated in their 135 page written statement to the court) to be dismissable, as the fence does not follow the Green Line. Claiming that the fence is a temporary measure while including settlements within its protection does not seem compatible to me. Besides the dubious suggestion that the fence will improve the chances of peace in the region (Good fences make good neighbors?), defacto borders (despite Israel's claims that the fence will not change the legal status of the land, the fence's very purpose of stopping terrorists necessitates that its western side become part of some sort of protected zone; a zone that includes Israel) have the tendency of becoming all too real. In future negotiations, it will seems likely that Palestine will have to make concessions in order to regain the land to the west of the fence.
Which leads us to another problem with the fence - it was an unilateral action. Considering that part of Israel's argument is the fence should not be discussed by the ICJ because it, like other pieces of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, should be discussed by the affected parties, building the fence seems as dangerous to the peace process as the Palestinian leadership's inability to control terrorist attacks against Israel.
Foreign Aid to Israel
John Kerry has always voted to maintain critical foreign aid to our ally Israel, resisting any attempts to cut it over his years in the Senate. In the early 1990s, he fought President Bush when his administration restricted aid to Israel through the loan guarantees program.
The UN and other International Organizations
John Kerry has always believed the US must stand solidly behind Israel at the UN and other international organizations. He recognizes the UN must establish more credibility on Arab-Israeli matters and would never hesitate to wield a US veto on the Security Council in the face of anti-Israel/anti-Zionist resolutions.
Maintaining Israel's Military Superiority
John Kerry understands that America must guarantee Israel's military superiority and supports carefully restricting arms sales to Arab countries in the region. He opposed the sale of Maverick missiles and F-15 fighter planes to Saudi Arabia.
From the viewpoint of American realpolitik, Israel's military superiority in the Middle East is only useful while it increases the security of the region (which, in turn, increases American security). Israel currently has a significant military advantage against any of the other states in the region. On the other hand, restricting arms sales to Saudi Arabia will not stop the threat of Palestinian terrorism. Nor will it convince Iran that it does not need nuclear weapons. Nuclear proliferation is not in the American interest.
Despite Bush's attempts to display him as a "waffler," I appreciated Kerry's nuanced positions on various issues; it showed intelligence and rational thought, two things that can not be contained in clichéd statements like "Let's Roll", "Mission Accomplished,"or "Let Freedom Reign." While his unabashedly pro-Israel positions do not make me reconsider my endorsement, I am disappointed.
Of course, it could be worse - Lieberman could be the nominee.