Mike Pompeo’s Historic Visit to Israel Recognizes Realities, and Jewish Rights

Nov. 25 2020

Last week, the American secretary of state arrived in Israel, visiting, among other places, the Golan Heights and the West Bank village of Psagot—where he toured a winery that has named a wine after him. Secretary Pompeo’s itinerary provoked outrage from the usual corners, with one commentator accusing him of “trolling the world.” But even the widely repeated claim that Pompeo was the first secretary of state to visit the Golan is false—Warren Christopher went there in official capacity in 1993. As for the criticisms, Dan Diker writes:

Pompeo’s visit to Psagot . . . reflected the agreed legal and diplomatic framework of the 1995 Oslo Interim Accords, which were internationally witnessed and guaranteed by the United States, Russia, Egypt, Jordan, Norway, and the European Union. The accords affirmed in no uncertain terms that Israeli and Palestinian Authority construction and building rights in areas under their respective jurisdictions would continue until the final status negotiated disposition of the territories.

Psagot is located in what Oslo designates as Area C, where Israel is given exclusive rights. Of course, writes Diker, these subtleties are lost on those who rush to proclaim it an “illegal settlement.”

It is regrettable that some uninformed or willfully blind journalists and commentators took the liberty of recasting Psagot and other Jewish communities east of the 1949 armistice lines as “illegal.” . . . Pompeo’s visit and his statements were correctives to [such] errors of judgment.

Likewise, Diker takes issue with the New York Times’s description of Pompeo’s visit, and his concomitant condemnation of anti-Israel boycotts, as “Trump’s gifts to Israel”:

Pompeo’s recognition of Jewish communities in Area C of Judea and Samaria and his condemnation of anti-Semitic product labeling and of the boycott, divest, and sanction movement (BDS) were the U.S. administration’s affirmations of . . . Jewish rights. They were also expressions of much needed moral clarity. Regrettably, political propagandists and various [self-styled] authorities in Israel and abroad have for years politicized Israel’s fundamental legal and historical rights.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Golan Heights, Mike Pompeo, Oslo Accords, West Bank


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy