U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was scheduled to arrive in the Middle East at the end of this week to engage in another round of shuttle diplomacy. It is possible that his trip will be cancelled, however, as his wife suddenly fell ill a few days ago.

Well, he would do far better to stay by her side — where his presence might actually have a beneficial effect — than to honor his commitment to arrive for what will have been his sixth endeavor at peace-brokering since March.

It is true that Egypt is now on the brink of a bloody civil war; Syria’s population is still being slaughtered; Turkish strife is escalating; and Iran’s race for nuclear weapons is becoming a sprint, rather than a marathon.

It is also clear that American interests are not being served by any or all of the above. But none of it is even remotely related to the purpose of Kerry’s repeated visits to the region.

No, what the America’s top diplomat is obsessed with is mediating between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. And because the latter’s goal is the elimination of the former, the only possible progress Kerry can make involves pressuring Israel to agree to a slew of Palestinian preconditions — not for peace, but for “peace talks.”

Even if such preconditions (i.e., the 1949 armistice lines as the starting point and the release of massive numbers of terrorists in Israeli prisons) did not constitute suicide for the Jewish state, meeting them would not result in anything resembling peace.

Last week, while State Department representatives remained in Israel to continue persuading “both sides” to sit down at the negotiating table — and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has been prepared to do so all along, without preconditions — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ official television station treated its viewers to a sweet little feature, ahead of the Ramadan holiday that begins Wednesday. In it, two little Palestinian girls recite a poem, introduced by a doting TV host. The broadcast was released by Palestinian Media Watch on Sunday.

DANIEL MANDEL:How Ian Fleming Masterminded the Invasion of Sicily **** World War II abounds in gargantuan invasions, massive blunders, ferocious set-piece battles and scenes of hellish slaughter worthy of Hieronymus Bosch. The effort to avoid one such bloodbath originated Operation Mincemeat, one of the war’s most celebrated and quirky intelligence efforts. Specifically, the conundrum for the Allies was: how to save the lives of […]

JONAH GOLDBERG: OBAMA WINGS IT IN EGYPT Who says President Obama isn’t a unifier? Last week, Edmund Sanders of the Los Angeles Times reported from Cairo: “As rival camps of Egyptians protest for and against the toppling of President Mohamed Morsi, there is a rare point of agreement: America is to blame.” Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the coalition arrayed against […]

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ INTERVIEWS KEVIN WILLIAMSON AUTHOR OF “THE END IS NEAR AND IT’S GOING TO BE AWESOME” My colleague Kevin D. Williamson is a fountain of unique optimism in his book, The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure. It’s a book worth reading — original, entertaining, smart, and engaging. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I […]

Evolution at Harvard How Financier Jeffrey Epstein Changed the Course of Evolutionary Studies at Harvard. By Christina Galbraith

If the scientist’s job is to ponder the stars, the banker’s is to funnel his vision into stellar panels. For while scientific theory can be enthralling, it’s in danger of racking up lost gigabytes and circuitry dust. But when a smart businessman and a top scientist get together, not only can the partnership lead to pragmatic accomplishments, it can actually change the course of scientific inquiry.

Such has been the case at Harvard. The study of evolution is always moving, but nowhere has it been livelier than in Brattle Square, where, ten years ago, a financier named Jeffrey Epstein set up the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics with a $30 million gift to the university, $6.5 million of which was a current-use gift to the PED. His mission was not to coddle neo-Darwinian theorists (because, honestly, couldn’t $30 million be used to vaccinate the entire country of Zaïre?) but to embolden a pragmatic use for the study of natural selection.
It was in August 2003, with the cooperation of Lawrence Summers, then president of Harvard, that the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics set up for business, and, under the direction of Martin Nowak, a professor of mathematics and biology, it revolutionized the way in which evolution is studied and utilized. PED became one of the first programs to give a high priority to the use of mathematics in studying the evolution of microbiology. It also became one of the first departments to develop a mathematical model of how human cancer cells evolve, as well as infectious bacteria and viruses such as HIV. The program’s models have led to key discoveries toward combatting diseases of all kinds and have encouraged researchers around the world to make new discoveries of their own.

Egypt Transitional Government Names Economist Hazem al-Beblawi Prime Minister By Andrew C. McCarthy Al-Ahram is reporting that Haze El-Beblawy has been appointed Egypt’s interim prime minister. Beblawy is a lawyer and a progressive, Paris-educated economist. He was a prominent banker during the Mubarak regime, worked at the U.N., and, following Mubarak’s ouster, was deputy finance minister and, later, finance minister, under the government led by the Supreme […]

Harold Rhode: Honor and Compromise in Middle East Leadership Why the U.S. administration believes it can persuade Mahmoud Abbas to sign an agreement guaranteeing Israel’s right to exist is astonishing. It is pointless for Western leaders to provide Middle Eastern leaders with incentives to reach compromises where, in Western eyes, all sides win, but in Middle Eastern eyes, their side loses. There, the […]

Deserting the Moderates: The Dilution of Human Rights by Samuel Westrop Although the Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association [CADFA] claims to promote “human rights,” in reality it is a politicized organization that uses human rights to sanitize its support for terrorism and to obtain public funding from the British government and the European Union. Whether a “coalition of women for peace” or the demand for […]


Two States Not Better Than One: Richard Greenfield

Whenever Israel’s future is discussed, there is always that glib assertion that Israelis have no choice but to implement a “two-state solution” — A “Palestinian” state alongside Israel. For Israel’s welfare, we are told. Alternatively, Israel would have to absorb millions of “Palestinians,” give them the right to vote and change the nature of the Jewish state forever.

Inherent in this argument is the imperative that Israel must give Arabs the right to vote — a right they would not have in any of the 22 Arab countries around them. But they press on. A ‘two state solution’, they say, is far preferable to an absorption of territory by one Jewish state in which “Palestinians” are not fully franchised voters. It’s all about the vote.

One has to wonder why. Voting rights don’t follow when a new Arab state is created. The Arab world without a free press, an open nominating system, and other democratic building blocks, can’t get from here to there readily. Voting in Islamic states, as it is presented, is mostly a phony exercise staged to mollify world opinion and create a domestic fiction. Perfected in the third world, it is all about one vote, once.

The world never has a problem with Arabs not voting except when Israel is perceived to be the keeper of that right. The most recent self-immolating democracy is Gaza which, when forced to hold an election at U.S. insistence, morphed into an aggressive terrorist, missile-firing entity where no elections will be held again soon. Jimmy Carter’s rush to approve notwithstanding, elections don’t make democracies; institutions have to be built, economies freed, and electorates informed before free individuals can produce the foundations that allow for a democratic impulse to materialize. Elections like the one in Gaza are a third world evasion that persuades the naïve. Americans should know better. Israelis do.

Syria Naval Base Blast Points to Israeli Raid   BEIRUT (Reuters) – Foreign forces destroyed advanced Russian anti-ship missiles in Syria last week, rebels said on Tuesday – a disclosure that appeared to point to an Israeli raid. Qassem Saadeddine, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council, said a pre-dawn strike on Friday hit a Syrian navy barracks at Safira, […]