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

Is the Attempt on Salman Rushdie’s Life Part of a Broader Iranian Strategy?

Aug. 18 2022

While there is not yet any definitive evidence that Hadi Matar, the man who repeatedly stabbed the novelist Salman Rushdie at a public talk last week, was acting on direct orders from Iranian authorities, he has made clear that he was inspired by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s call for Rushdie’s murder, and his social-media accounts express admiration for the Islamic Republic. The attack also follows on the heels of other Iranian attempts on the lives of Americans, including the dissident activist Masih Alinejad, the former national security advisor John Bolton, and the former secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was held hostage by the mullahs for over two years, sees a deliberate effort at play:

It is no coincidence this flurry of Iranian activity comes at a crucial moment for the hitherto-moribund [nuclear] negotiations. Iranian hardliners have long opposed reviving the 2015 deal, and the Iranians have made a series of unrealistic and seemingly ever-shifting demands which has led many to conclude that they are not negotiating in good faith. Among these is requiring the U.S. to delist the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in its entirety from the State Department’s list of terror organizations.

The Biden administration and its European partners’ willingness to make concessions are viewed in Tehran as signals of weakness. The lack of a firm response in the shocking attack on Salman Rushdie will similarly indicate to Tehran that there is little to be lost and much to be gained in pursuing dissidents like Alinejad or so-called blasphemers like Sir Salman on U.S. soil.

If we don’t stand up for our values when under attack we can hardly blame our adversaries for assuming that we have none. Likewise, if we don’t erect and maintain firm red lines in negotiations our adversaries will perhaps also assume that we have none.

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Read more at iNews

More about: Iran, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy