Donate

The Latest Palestinian Incitement against the U.S.

Since the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the public burning of the American flag along with pictures or effigies of President Trump have become commonplace in the West Bank and Gaza. After his recent visit to Jerusalem, Vice-President Pence has been subjected to the same symbolic treatment. Bassam Tawil explains that these demonstrations do not take place without official imprimatur:

Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders and officials set the tone, while ordinary Palestinians take to the streets to express their hatred of the U.S. . . . [Recently], activists in a refugee camp near Bethlehem held a mock trial for Trump and Pence. . . . The “court” found [the two] guilty . . . and they were sentenced to death by hanging. The court also ruled that the bodies of Trump and Pence would be burned after their “execution.” . . .

Strikingly, this event took place inside a refugee camp that is run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), just outside a school run by UNRWA. . . . More interesting still is that members of PA president Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction participated in the mock trial. . . Such a display of hatred and encouragement of violence against American leaders could never have taken place without the approval of Abbas. . . .

Once again, Palestinians are being taught by their “leaders” that, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars they receive annually from the U.S., they are meant to disgorge murderous venom at America. In fact, the mock trial and execution of Trump and Pence gives a green light to Palestinians physically to target Americans. . . .

The U.S. and other Western countries would do well to take the Palestinian campaign of threats and incitement extremely seriously—and to counter these threats. Submission to this intimidation will simply result in even more intimidation, more violence, and more threats.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Palestinian Authority, Palestinians, Politics & Current Affairs, UNRWA

How the U.S. Can Strike at Iran without Risking War

In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Michael Doran urged the U.S. to pursue a policy of rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East, and explained how this can be accomplished. (Video of the testimony, along with the full text, are available at the link below.)

The United States . . . has indirect ways of striking at Iran—ways that do not risk drawing the United States into a quagmire. The easiest of these is to support allies who are already in the fight. . . . In contrast to the United States, Israel is already engaged in military operations whose stated goal is to drive Iran from Syria. We should therefore ask ourselves what actions we might take to strengthen Israel’s hand. Militarily, these might include, on the passive end of the spectrum, positioning our forces so as to deter Russian counterattacks against Israel. On the [more active] end, they might include arming and training Syrian forces to engage in operations against Iran and its proxies—much as we armed the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Diplomatically, the United States might associate itself much more directly with the red lines that Israel has announced regarding the Iranian presence in Syria. Israel has, for example, called for pushing Iran and its proxies away from its border on the Golan Heights. Who is prepared to say that Washington has done all in its power to demonstrate to Moscow that it fully supports this goal? In short, a policy of greater coordination with Jerusalem is both possible and desirable.

In Yemen, too, greater coordination with Saudi Arabia is worth pursuing. . . . In Lebanon and Iraq, conditions will not support a hard rollback policy. In these countries the goal should be to shift the policy away from a modus vivendi [with Iran] and in the direction of containment. In Iraq, the priority, of course, is the dismantling of the militia infrastructure that the Iranians have built. In Lebanon, [it should be] using sanctions to force the Lebanese banking sector to choose between doing business with Hizballah and Iran and doing business with the United States and its financial institutions. . . .

Iran will not take a coercive American policy sitting down. It will strike back—and it will do so cleverly. . . . It almost goes without saying that the United States should begin working with its allies now to develop contingency plans for countering the tactics [Tehran is likely to use]. I say “almost” because I know from experience in the White House that contingency planning is something we extol much more than we conduct. As obvious as these tactics [against us] are, they have often taken Western decision makers by surprise, and they have proved effective in wearing down Western resolve.

Read more at Hudson

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen