America Shouldn’t Be Negotiating with Palestinian Terrorists

April 4, 2017 | Michael Rubin
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The State Department reportedly decided last week to allow Jibril Rajoub, a high-ranking Fatah official, to take part in upcoming meetings with American diplomats in the U.S., despite his history of participation in terror and his ongoing, repeated encouragement of attacks on Israeli civilians. Michael Rubin comments:

Let’s put aside the irony of [a State Department official] having to pair the insistence that Rajoub supports “a peaceful, non-violent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” with the need to press him “to refrain from any statements or actions” that could legitimize violence. Perhaps a man who threw a grenade at a bus, was sentenced to life, and has [subsequently] been released early and then re-arrested multiple times hasn’t really reformed. Likewise, perhaps Rajoub’s vehement opposition as head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee to a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes murdered during the 1972 Munich Olympics suggests that he really hasn’t embraced the spirit of peace or truly rejected terrorism.

The State Department has a long history of reaching out to terrorists. . . . It’s a strategy that [stretches from] Jimmy Carter’s desire to utilize Palestinian terrorists as intermediaries to win the release of American hostages in Iran to then-Senator John Kerry’s willingness to pass messages for Hamas to numerous officials who jumped on the Hizballah-is-legitimate bandwagon. In each case, U.S. diplomats legitimized terrorists but did not achieve their prime objective.

A far better strategy would be to utilize leverage—the U.S. government pays several hundred million dollars of it—in order to present the Palestinians with a stark choice: completely renounce and abandon terrorism as required by the Oslo Accords or lose everything. There should be no middle ground. What [Secretary of State] Rex Tillerson proposes to do, perhaps at the urging of the White House, . . . is nothing less than a quixotic effort and an insult to every American victim of terrorism.

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