New year, old whine?

We don’t know what is really happening in the peace talks. Leaks and reports in the Palestinian or Arab press are rarely worthy of a moment’s notice. However, what of material in the Israeli media?

For example, what should we make of the Channel 2 TV report that claimed John Kerry ‘deceived’ Israel over prisoner releases? Apparently, the suggestion is that Kerry allowed Abbas to believe Netanyahu would free Israeli Arabs, knowing Netanyahu had refused to do so. Then, having got himself into a hole, Kerry tried to dig his way out by trying to persuade Netanyahu to change his mind. (See this Times of Israel report.)

If it’s true, it suggests Mr Kerry is struggling a wee bit. If it’s not true, what’s the point of the story? Is this aimed at making the Israeli public antagonistic towards Kerry – perhaps in advance of Kerry criticizing Israel publicly? Or is it smoke and mirrors – a misdirection to deflect from some other real issue?

Sometime in 2014 we are going to find out what lies behind this and future leaks and reports. I just hope it’s not a case of old whine in a new bottle.