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Why at 40-1 John Kerry is worth a punt for the 2016 Democratic party nomination

February 21st, 2014

He could be ideally placed if his Middle East peace plan succeeds

The first thing I did on my return last night from an intensive tour of Israel and Palestine was to place a bet at 50/1 with Ladbrokes on the defeated 2004 presidential candidate, John Kerry, for the Democratic party nomination in the 2016 White House race. Alas the bookie has now cut the price to 25/1 though you can still get him at 40/1 with other firms.

Before getting on my flight home a senior official in the Netanyahu adminstration told me that he rated the chances of Kerry’s peace initiative succeeding at 50-50. Given the awful history of getting agreement in this conflict that seemed a pretty strong assessment.

This broadly echoed the views of many of those I spoke to on both sides of the divide about where things stand. Kerry is putting a massive effort into finding a solution and trying to bring the parties together.

There are, of course, huge hurdles ahead and Kerry has to persude both the Israelis and Palestinians to bite the bullet on issues that are so central to them including the biggest of all – recognising each side’s right to exist.

    But the evidence from the polling is that both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples are getting increasingly tired of the status quo and might just be ready to countenance a historic compromise.

There would probably have to be referenda amongst the Israelis and Palestinians if a draft deal is reached.

If this did work out it would be a massive boost to the 70 year old Kerry and could provide a great platform for him to try, once more, to become president. What looks like a shoo-in for Kerry’s predecessor as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, could become an interesting contest.

Kerry, of course, is denying that he’s interested in the presidency but my guess is that the accolades he’d get if he pulled this off could change his mind. Whatever I think it is worth a punt at long odds.

  • I plan to write a fuller report over the weekend on what was an extraordinary and stimulating visit
  • Mike Smithson

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