American Diplomats Know the Truth about the Palestinian Authority, but Won’t Act on It

Addressing the recent gathering of the United Nations, the Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid endorsed a two-state solution, winning praise from America’s ambassador to the UN and stirring controversy in Israel. As Ben Cohen observes, the U.S. representative reacted far more coolly to the speech delivered by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president—which consisted of predictable denunciations of imagined Israeli crimes. This coolness may reflect a realistic appraisal of Abbas’s character, but, Cohen argues, not one that is likely to get any explicit acknowledgment:

That is why, when Abbas is taken at his word by a senior American diplomat in terms of his commitment to non-violence and a negotiated compromise, serious questions need to be asked. In terms of bloodcurdling rhetoric targeting Israel, Abbas is not the worst Palestinian leader, but his willingness to promote some of the ugliest slanders against the Jewish state compels one to ask just how genuine his support for two states and non-violence actually is.

Abbas has never disavowed the notion that Israel is an interloper and a colonizer. . . . In Germany only last month, he caused a scandal when he stood alongside Chancellor Olaf Scholz and sullenly declared that Israel was guilty of perpetrating “50 holocausts” upon the Palestinians. This was in response to a journalist’s query about whether he would finally apologize to the families of the eleven Israeli athletes murdered in a Palestinian terrorist operation at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

What [the U.S. ambassador’s] statement elides is that Abbas is far more wedded to these dubious ideas—the bedrock of the Palestinian eliminationist program—than he is to the diplomatic goals articulated at the Security Council. The rhetoric about two states can only be seen as lip service, unless one is prepared to accept the bizarre contention that having denounced Israel as a racist open-air prison for Palestinians, they would happily live alongside it. The rhetoric about Israel’s lack of legitimacy, however, is firmly in keeping with the Palestinians’ own ideology.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations, Yair Lapid

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship