Joe Biden Shouldn’t Object to Israeli Officials Accompanying Him to a Palestinian Hospital

Today, President Biden is expected to visit the Augusta Victoria hospital in eastern Jerusalem, which since 1948 has provided healthcare to Palestinians under the auspices of the Lutheran World Federation. Israeli officials had wished to accompany the president, but his team denied the request. To Robert Silverman, this was an “ill-considered” decision:

First, allowing an Israeli presence on the visit is consistent with the policy of recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. Conversely, denying such a presence looks like a small step toward the former U.S. policy, when the U.S. saw Jerusalem not as part of Israel but as a corpus separatum (Latin for “separated body”), whose status would be decided in future negotiations. That policy was rejected first by Congress and later by administrations of both parties. It didn’t facilitate negotiations with the Palestinians and a return to it in any form would be a surprise to all.

Second, history matters in Jerusalem. Augusta Victoria Hospital is not only an important Palestinian institution located in the city of Jerusalem. . . . Founded in 1898 by Kaiser Wilhelm as a hostel for German pilgrims and named after his wife, it . . . remained Germany’s flagship site in the Holy Land, serving as a German military hospital during World War I, a German Lutheran church and later as a Nazi Party meeting site in the 1930s. During that period, the hostel barred Jewish visitors.

This information and much more is available on Augusta Victoria’s Wikipedia site. Once again barring Jews from entering Augusta Victoria seems tin-eared public policy, not designed to influence either the Israelis or the Palestinians along the way to coexistence and eventual peace.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Jerusalem, Lutheranism, US-Israel relations

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict