The PLO Shouldn’t Have a Mission in Washington

Pursuant to the Oslo Accords, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—an umbrella group dominated by the Fatah party—serves as the international representative of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and thus for some time operated a diplomatic office in the U.S. capital. In 2018, the Trump administration closed it down because of the PLO’s ongoing support for terrorism. The Biden administration is now considering reopening it. Elliott Abrams explains that doing so won’t be easy, or helpful:

It won’t be easy because it seems to be unlawful. [The] Taylor Force Act, . . . named after an American soldier murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in 2018, states that the PA and PLO will be liable for damages awarded by a jury if they open offices in the United States or make payments to Palestinian terrorists being held in Israeli prisons. . . . How the administration plans to get around the Taylor Force Act, and why it believes it is sensible and moral to do so, remain unclear. It is certainly not necessary to [channel] aid through the PA to help Palestinians.

Unless and until the PA stops its “pay for slay” payments to convicted terrorists and their families, . . . help for Palestinians should be provided through reputable NGOs and international organizations, and without handing any funds to the PA. The administration should in fact be worrying more about how to help Palestinians and less about rebuilding “connective tissue” to the PA and PLO leadership—which is viewed as incompetent and corrupt by millions of Palestinians.

There is another reason that opening a PLO office right now would be a foolish and untimely step. Right now, Hamas and Fatah are negotiating over the Palestinian elections planned for May 22. Hamas has one key goal, which is to become part of the PLO. It may also become part of the PA government. . . . Will the administration actually open an office in Washington for the PLO now, when its newest member after the May elections may be Hamas?

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Palestinian terror, PLO, U.S. Foreign policy

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy