Former US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer lowered the hype surrounding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's upcoming speech to the US Congress, saying that he's been around for enough "make it or break it" moments in Middle East peace to know that "this is not one," in an interview with Army Radio on Thursday.
Addressing the prospect of Palestinians seeking statehood in the United Nations this September, Kurtzer said that while the United States supports the idea of a Palestinian state, it opposes unilateral actions - by both sides. He said such a move would bring the peace process in the wrong direction.
The former ambassador also spoke of the push for statehood in the context of unarmed uprisings in the Arab world, saying that for a long time, there has been a discussion about what would happen if the Palestinians rose up non-violently. "That is happening now," he said. Kurtzer said that given recent experience of Arab security services dealing with uprisings, he is sure the Israeli security services will face difficulty as well.
Kurtzer also spoke of the recent announced retirement of US Mideast Envoy George Mitchell, saying he believes Mitchell resigned due to a lack of progress in the peace process. He mentioned that Mitchell stepped down a week before US President Barack Obama's major Middle East policy speech, whereas he could have waited until a week after.