The Biden administration continues to pressure Israel against its own national interests. Israel’s democratically elected coalition government is not good enough for President Biden, who recently called it “one of the most extremist…cabinets that I’ve seen.” Despite Israel’s coalition pursuing judicial reform that strengthens democracy in the country, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides stated that the US wants to prevent Israel from “going off the rails” on such reform. Clearly siding with the protesters, the White House also told Israel to “protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly.”
Additionally, the Biden administration is undermining Israel’s national interests by supporting a “two-state solution,” opposing “settlements,” hating on prospects of a Saudi-Israel peace, and joining UNESCO.
“Two-State Solution” / “Settlements”
The Biden administration continues to peddle the so-called “two-state solution.” In a recent interview with CNN, President Biden remarked that “I am one of those who believes that Israel’s ultimate security rests in a two-state solution.” This is despite the reality of the multiple wars that the Palestinians have initiated against Israel after the Oslo Accords and the so-called “peace process.”
Additionally, in that interview, Biden said that certain members of Israel’s cabinet [he did not mention any by name] are “…part of the problem…particularly individuals in the cabinet who would say…we [i.e., the “settlers”] could settle anywhere we want, they [i.e., the Palestinians] have no right to be here, et cetera.” This is despite the fact that Israel has an inalienable right to build in Judea and Samaria both historically and according to international law.
And the Biden administration has forced Israel’s hand on the “settlements” recently, as it was integral in getting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to postpone hearings on constructing in the E-1 corridor in both March and June of this year. E-1 falls within Area C of to the Oslo Accords, and coincidentally is also within Judea, the ancient homeland of the Jewish people. E-1 also serves to join Jerusalem with Ma’aleh Adumim, and to also provide a buffer between Jerusalem and Palestinian-administered Bethlehem.
The Biden administration is undercutting prospects for a Saudi-Israeli normalization pact through its negative public statements on the issue. President Biden recently said: “We’re a long way from [reaching a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel].”Biden also said that “…whether or not we would provide a means by which they could have civilian nuclear power and/or be a guarantor of their security, that is — I think that is a little way off.” This remark is jarring, given the Biden administration’s willingness to allow Iran to have [at least] civilian nuclear power, as shown in the administration’s shuttle diplomacy with Iran in Oman. These statements follow earlier remarks by Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict undermines prospects of an Israeli-Saudi deal. Statements like these push Saudi Arabia and Israel further away from reaching peace with each other.
US Joins UNESCO
Days ago, the US formally re-joined UNESCO, following multiple statements of the Biden administration announcing its desire to do so. Both the US and Israel, under President Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced their intent to withdraw from the organization in October 2017, following through in January 2019. UNESCO has long had a pro-Palestinian bias. In 2010, UNESCO called the Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, recognized as Jewish Heritage sites by Muslims for centuries, as “Palestinian Heritage Sites” in “the occupied Palestinian territory.” UNESCO then made similar declarations in 2017 and 2018. Included in these statements was UNESCO referring to Rachel’s Tomb as a “mosque,” adopting Palestinian propaganda that had begun referring to the tomb as such only beginning in 1996. UNESCO also called the Golan Heights “Occupied Syrian Golan” in a separate statement in 2018.
The Biden administration continues to undermine its greatest ally in the region by supporting a “two-state solution,” opposing “settlements,” undermining Saudi-Israel peace negotiations, and joining UNESCO. For it to contribute to durable peace in the region, the Biden administration must support the Abraham Accords, withdraw from negotiations with Iran, and cease bullying Israel on issues critical to its national security.
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Hamas Claims Responsibility for Deadly Attack in West Jerusalem
In a tragic incident on Thursday, two gunmen opened fire at a bus stop in West Jerusalem, resulting in the deaths of three Israelis and injuries to 16 others. Hamas, the militant group against which Israel declared war after a previous deadly terror attack, has claimed responsibility for this latest act of violence.
The motive behind the attack, according to Hamas, is in response to what they consider Israeli “crimes” committed in Gaza, as reported by the BBC. This assault occurred amid an existing ceasefire between the two sides, adding complexity to the situation.
Off-duty soldiers and a civilian at the scene took swift action, successfully neutralizing the gunmen. Jerusalem District Commander Doron Turgeman informed reporters that the assailants approached the bus stop in a car and were armed with two weapons. Subsequent investigations revealed a significant amount of ammunition in the gunmen’s vehicle.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during a meeting with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, condemned the attack, emphasizing that it serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing threat of terrorism faced by Israel and its people daily.
The incident underscores the volatile nature of the conflict and the challenges in maintaining stability, even during periods of ceasefire. As investigations continue, the international community closely watches developments in the region, hoping for a path toward lasting peace and security for all involved.
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