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Biden Administration Continues to Fumble on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently gave remarks at the J Street National Conference, highlighting the Biden Administration’s policy on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. There are several things Blinken stated that reveal that the Biden Administration continues to push policies that undermine Israel, which in turn pushes away chances for fostering peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

 

Error #1: Continued Fixation on the Two-State Solution

The Biden administration remains obsessed with the “two-state solution,” as Blinken mentions it or a similar reference to “two states” a whopping ten times in his speech. Blinken states that the United States is “holding firm to the vision of two states for two peoples.” What Blinken ignores is the number of times that this framework has failed. The Arabs rejected proposals to gain sovereignty of Judea and Samaria in 1937, 1947, 1967–1968, 2000, 2001, and 2008, and in 2020. There is no indication that a two-state solution now has a greater chance of success.

Blinken also argues that “[a]nything that takes us away from two states is detrimental to Israel’s long-term security and its long-term identity.” The reality is the opposite, as the Oslo Accords and the road to the two-state solution has brought more war to Israel with the Palestinians than before. Since the Oslo Accords in 1993, Israel has faced the Second Intifada, the Knife Intifada, and three wars (2008-9, 2012, 2014) and many other smaller engagements in Gaza.

 

Error #2: Continued Opposition to Settlements

 The Biden administration opposes “settlement expansion” and “moves toward [Israeli] annexation of the West Bank,” as indicated in Blinken’s speech.  But it is in Israel’s best interest to keep building the settlements, Israel’s right to do so goes back millennia, and Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria is not an occupation. In contrast to President Biden’s vision, President Trump’s peace plan, rejected out-of-hand by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, had envisioned that Israel could exert sovereignty on approximately 30 percent of Judea and Samaria (AKA the “West Bank”).

 

Error #3: Continued Undermining of Israeli Sovereignty in Jerusalem

Blinken’s remarks show that the Biden administration remains intent on undermining Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.

The first way Blinken highlights this is in articulating the Biden administration’s position on Jerusalem’s status. Blinken states: “The United States continues to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. As the President also said in his visit, Jerusalem is central to the national visions of both Palestinians and Israelis, and must be a city for all of its people.” With these two sentences, the Biden administration is speaking in contradictory terms. Yes, the Biden administration recognizes that Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will stand. But on the other hand, the Biden administration recognizes Jerusalem as “central to the national vision” of the Palestinians, meaning that the Biden administration recognizes Jerusalem as a capital of the Palestinians as well, and is undermining Israeli sovereignty in the ancient capital of the Jewish people.

Secondly, Blinken shows that the Biden administration is undermining Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem by stating that the Biden administration opposes “disruption to the historic status quo at holy sites.” This refers to opposing Jewish rights to pray on the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism.

A third instance of Blinken’s speech showing that the Biden administration is undermining Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem is when Blinken states that the Biden administration is working “with Congress to provide $100 million to bolster healthcare for Palestinians through the East Jerusalem Hospital Network.” As icing on the cake, Blinken admitted that he “had an opportunity to visit one of those hospitals on a recent trip.” What is remarkable about these quotes is that the Biden administration chooses to invest $100 million in healthcare and visit the Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem, as opposed to doing both in Palestinian Authority-controlled Area A of Judea and Samaria. Both actions serve to erode Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.

 

Conclusion

 Blinken’s speech to J Street shows that the Biden administration continues to fundamentally miss the mark when it comes to the “two-state solution,” settlements, and Jerusalem. By taking positions that are contrary to the national interests of Israel on these issues, the Biden administration guarantees that it will disrupt, rather than foster, peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Only by supporting Israel on these core issues, and actively promoting and expanding the Abraham Accords, can the Biden administration secure durable wins for peace in the region.

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Israel

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar kicked off House Foreign Affairs Committee

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Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar was voted off the House Foreign Affairs Committee Thursday. The action was expected, as Republican members of Congress had criticized Omar’s antisemetic and anti-American rhetoric.

After intense debating on the House floor, the resolution passed with a 218-211 vote. Democrats attempted to pull the race card, accusing Republican House members of racism for removing Omar from the committee.

Omar also accused House Republicans of racism, saying, “I am Muslim, I am an immigrant, and interestingly, from Africa…Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy, or that they see me as a powerful voice that needs to be silenced?”

“There is this idea that you are a suspect if you are an immigrant or if you are from certain parts of the world or certain skin tone or a muslim.” Omar said during the heated debate. A fiery Alexandria Ocasia Cortez also chimed in shouting, “This is an attack on women of color!”

Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, from New York, said she had personally witnessed Omar spew anti-American rhetoric. Malliotakis said, “I have been in that committee room where, the representative, equates Israel and the United States to Hamas and the Taliban. Absolutely unacceptable for a member of that committee.”

A four-page resolution was written for the justification of removing Omar from the house Foreign Affairs Committee. The resolution states that in 2019, Omar suggested that Jewish people were buying U.S. political support when she posted on Twitter, “it’s all about the Benjamins, baby.”

Omar also commented on the September 11th attacks saying, “some people did something.” This type of comment is unacceptable for any representative who is sitting on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, lawmakers said.

In the resolution it states that members of this committee should all be held to an “equal standard of conduct due to the international sensitivities and national security concerns under the jurisdiction of this committee.”

 

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