Just days after word got out that the release of Jonathan Pollard was on the table as a means of nudging Israeli-Palestinian peace talks along—meaning, plainly, that the situation was getting pretty desperate—a frustrated John Kerry, currently in Morocco, warned that the U.S. was reconsidering its role in the negotiations.
It’s not entirely surprising that Kerry is losing his patience. He’s been to Israel more than a dozen times since becoming secretary of state in February 2013, which is more than most Jews I know and which I’m pretty sure ties him with only Amar’e Stoudemire for El Al frequent flier miles. Kerry has made the peace negotiations his top priority, but with the talks stalling out over Israel’s refusal of additional Palestinian prisoner releases and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatening to derail peace talks (for which Kerry punished him by cancelling his trip to Ramallah), it looks like he’s going to start playing a little harder to get.
The New York Times reports that Kerry also said in Morocco that both sides had been “unhelpful” and that it was “reality check time.”
“There are limits to the amount of time and effort that the United States can spend if the parties themselves are unwilling to take constructive steps in order to be able to move forward,” Kerry said.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.