Is the U.S. Helping to Form a New Palestinian Army?

The U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem, which serves as a de-facto embassy to the Palestinian Authority, recently violated a 2011 agreement by firing some of the IDF veterans who guarded the consulate and replacing them with members of the Palestinian police. The incident follows American efforts to beef up Mahmoud Abbas’s security forces, ostensibly to protect his government in the event of a violent confrontation with Hamas. Arming the PA has worked out poorly in the past, and there is little reason, writes Shoshana Bryen, to believe it will work better this time:

Throwing American support to one Palestinian faction over another was a political decision to side with what [the U.S.] government assumed was “better” or more “moderate” Palestinians, hoping they would use [American] help to put down Hamas rather than using it to kill ever more Israelis.

What it did was legitimize the creeping movement of the Palestinians toward [possessing] a full-fledged army.

The question always was twofold: What constitutes “appropriate” weapons for the Palestinian security forces, and how does the U.S. justify training security forces the ultimate loyalty of whom will be to a government that we cannot foresee and may become something—or already is something—[the U.S.] doesn’t like? . . .

To raise the questions is to understand that there are no sound answers from either the consulate or the State Department.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, US-Israel relations

The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship