In December 2016, then-Secretary of State John Kerry insisted that, without first securing peace with the Palestinians, “there will be no separate peace between Israel and the Arab world.” Kerry was proved wrong by the Abraham Accords, which effectively neutralized the Palestinian “veto” over peace agreements between Israel and Arab countries. Ellie Cohanim argues that the recent spate of terror attacks against Israeli civilians, timed to coincide with a summit between the Jewish state and its new allies, demonstrates the determination of Palestinian and Iranian leaders to “destroy this burgeoning peace.” But the Biden administration hasn’t learned the lessons of the recent past:
The historic Negev summit, hosted by the Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid and also featuring Lapid’s Bahraini, Egyptian, Moroccan, and Emirati counterparts, was a significant step forward in advancing the Abraham Accords. The optics of four Arab foreign ministers intertwining hands with Israel’s Lapid and America’s Blinken were powerful. Powerful too was the agreement to make the summit a “permanent forum” with “shared capabilities.”
That same [day the summit began], March 27, Blinken met with the Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas. In remarks following their meeting, Blinken created a moral equivalency between Israel’s supposed “settlement expansion, settler violence, home demolitions, [and] evictions” with the PA’s “payments to people convicted of terrorism [and] incitements to violence.”
These equivalencies pose a danger to Israeli lives, as they signal to Palestinians that their terror and violence will be met with American statements about Israeli settlements—instead of demands for accountability among Palestinians. The Biden administration last year went so far as to resume U.S. funding to the PA despite its “pay-for-slay” policy, and against the animating spirit of the duly enacted Taylor Force Act legislation.
It is high time for the Biden administration to recognize the reality of the new Middle East. In this post-Abraham Accords era, there are two clear paths for nations to choose from. One is the path of coexistence, peace, and prosperity. That was the path on display at the Negev Summit. The other is the path of radicalism, terrorism and, ultimately, war.