The PLO Shouldn’t Have a Mission in Washington

March 30 2021

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?

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Read more at Pressure Points

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

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

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Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform