Less than three months ago, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that there was a link between Islamist terrorism and frustration over the Palestinian issue. Yet despite vigorous recent attempts by the French to champion the Palestinian cause, Islamist terrorists have just struck in Paris, killing 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Where did Kerry’s theory go wrong?
At an Oct. 18, 2014 State Department event celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, Kerry presented his linkage theory. Discussing the phenomenon of young Muslims flocking to the ranks of Islamist terror groups such as the Islamic State, Kerry said that the issue of “Israel and the Palestinians” is “a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation” among Muslims worldwide.
If Kerry were correct, then one would expect the Islamist extremist groups to refrain from harming those who embrace the Palestinian cause. And France certainly has been at the forefront of pro-Palestinian activism, especially in recent weeks.
On Dec. 2, the French parliament voted overwhelmingly to demand that the French government immediately recognize the “State of Palestine.” Not after negotiations. Not with Israel’s agreement. Just do it right away, whether Israel likes it or not. And the vote wasn’t even close — 339 in favor, 151 against.
Four weeks later, the Palestinian Authority presented a resolution to the U.N. Security Council, setting a timetable for Israel to unilaterally withdraw from all of Judea, Samaria, and most of Jerusalem. That is, back to the pre-1967 armistice lines that Abba Eban said would make Israel so vulnerable that it would set the stage for another Holocaust.
That position is so extreme that even the Obama administration, which has not exactly been Israel’s warmest friend, opposed the resolution. Yet France joined with those stalwarts of reason and democracy, China and Russia, to support the resolution. France’s ambassador to the United Nations, explaining his country’s vote in favor of the resolution, said there was “an urgent need to act.”