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

July 15 2022

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

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy