NYT: Barack Obama, John Kerry Too Focused on Israel, Palestinians

John Kerry in Israel
John Kerry / AP

The New York Times reported on Secretary of State John Kerry’s preoccupation with the stagnant Israeli-Palestinian peace process, even as neighboring Egypt, Syria, and Turkey plunge into turmoil.

Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress, normally a reliable advocacy group for the Obama administration’s foreign policy, noted the disconnect:

Mr. Kerry has made it clear that he will not give up his peacemaking quest. But analysts said that the gravity of the crisis in Egypt would force him and other senior officials to shift their attention to Cairo, where American policy, some say, has failed to keep up with events.

"It’s good that Kerry is focusing on the peace process," said Brian Katulis, an expert on Egypt at the Center for American Progress, "but the biggest thing they haven’t done is pursue a strategic review on Egypt."

Kerry spent several days in Israel last week attempting to restart peace talks, his fifth visit to the country since March.

Anti-government unrest has continued in Turkey this week while massive protests against the Muslim Brotherhood administration in Egypt prompted the military to issue President Mohammed Morsi an ultimatum. Meanwhile, the conflict in Syria continued, with the death toll topping 100,000.