The Obama Administration
and the Israeli-Palestinian Issue
by Sarah Stern and Kyle Shideler
Last week, the Obama administration freed up $192 million in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority that had been put on hold by the United States Congress’ Committee of Foreign Operations Appropriations, saying that this money had to be given to the P.A. “because of national security interests.”
The hold had been put on this aid because of the Palestinian Authority’s decision to go outside of the framework that had been agreed for Palestinian statehood, which was supposed to have been decided by direct face-to-face negotiations between the parties, themselves, and by incremental stages in which mutual trust was supposed to have been built up.
In all of the various agreements since the Oslo Accords had been signed on the White House Lawn on September 13, 1993, statehood was supposed to have been earned through a series of stages, rather than delivered on a silver platter, through an arbitrary time line. Fundamental to all of the agreements were that the disputes were to be resolves among the parties, themselves. Equally fundamental and predicating all agreements was the condition that there would be absolutely no incitement to violence or terror.
The last iteration of the peace agreements, The Roadmap for Peace, outlines, in Phase 1 as a condition for the Palestinians:
“Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.”
Being well aware of that, when asked in a White House Press Briefing about the freeing up of funds to the P.A., White House Spokesman Tommy Vietor said, that “The PA had fulfilled its major obligations, such as recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing violence and accepting the Road Map for Peace.”
Unfortunately, not only do we, at EMET know this to be patently untrue, but we know as well, that Palestinian Media Watch, who has been monitoring Palestinian incitement in the newspapers, in textbooks, in Palestinian Authority controlled National Television, on the radio and in public speeches in town squares, but we know that White House officials know this to be untrue. Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch has been keeping the Obama administration regularly informed about the constant and steady diet of incitement to hate and to kill the Israeli, the Christian and the Jew; the constant campaign in P.A. sponsored “public service” advertisements and in the textbooks to reclaim all of Israel as “Palestine”, the glorification and ennoblement of suicide bombers and martyrs and the exhortation for children to follow along in that “noble” path.
The very same week Tommy Vietor made his statement, Palestinian Media Watch issued a bulletin describing how the Palestinian Authority commemorated the anniversary of the death of PLO arch terrorist Abu Jihad. Abu Jihad, (or Kahlil al Wazir), had been responsible for the death of 125 Israeli civilians, which were the result, among other acts. of his masterminding the attack on the Savoy Hotel in 195, which resulted in the death of 11 Israelis, and the coastal road attack which resulted in the killing of 35 Israelis, and an operation to attack scientists in the nuclear plant at Dimona, which resulted in the death of three Israelis and three Palestinians.
The Palestinian Authority had named no fewer than six sporting events after this master-terrorist. In one of these events, on April 16, 2012, the PA TV broadcast the words of Abu Jihad speaking in the 1960′s and 1970′s saying “On one street, for example, we will hold 500 people (hostage) at any moment, he can blow up everyone; blow up their building, or the whole thing, no matter how many people are there…We want to turn the Tel Aviv day black. We want to turn the Tel Aviv day into destruction, Allah willing. We will turn the Tel Aviv day so it will be remembered in the history of Tel Aviv as black Saturday. Black Sunday. Tel Aviv will be closed that whole day with blood and destruction.”
The Palestinian Authority’s national news broadcast extolled Abu Jihad for attacking civilian targets, (notice inside “the Green Line), and depicts the killing of civilians as laudable achievements. In the Palestinian Authority controlled newspaper, Al Hayat , Al Jadida on April 12, 2012, wrote, “The anniversary of the Martyrdom-death of our people’s legendary leader, Khalil Al Whazir, Abu Jihad, is approaching, and in its honor the sports organizations of Palestine are organizing many tournaments in diverse branches of many sports…”
Or what about this cartoon in the Palestinian Authority daily where a mother instructors her infant that all of Israel is “Palestine”? Or perhaps the declaration of PA Social Minister Majida Al-Masri who called for unification with Hamas in order to secure “the liberation of Palestine-all of Palestine” meaning also all of Israel?
If glorification of violence and terrorism does not qualify as lack of compliance with the Roadmap, perhaps incitement to genocide does, such as when the Palestinian Authority’s Mufti, Mohammed Hussein, speaking at a Fatah conference cites Islamic hadiths calling for the extermination of the Jews.
Once ignorance might have been an excuse, with the Palestinian spokesmen saying all the right things in English, and then continuing on their jihad against the Jews in Arabic, but in these days of increasing globalization and the internet, it takes only a few minutes of “googling” to put the lie to claims of Palestinian moderation. With translations sites like Palestinian Media Watch and others there’s no escaping the realization that incitement to violence and the rejection of Israel’s right to exist remains the rule, not the exception among the Palestinian Authority.
Indeed, why should the Palestinians be expected to alter their behavior, when time and time again, administrations past and present, have made clear there will be no consequences for not doing so?
With President Obama’s waiver releasing $192 million to the Palestinian Authority, he has blatantly defied Congress’ desire for accountability and reform among the Palestinians. He has certified that by providing the Palestinians with the nearly $200 million for “Sesame Street”, the U.S. congress chose to freeze, is necessary for American national security. Doing so he has made clear, that far from being “the most pro-Israel President in history”, as New York Times columnist Tom Friedman managed to somehow assert without sarcasm, President Obama is a full-throated supporter of the Palestinian cause.
Even those who are passionate supporters of the peace process should be deeply disturbed by President Obama’s lack of neutrality on this issue. His administration ludicrous demands of the Israelis, including the freezing of settlement expansion anywhere beyond the 1967 line, including Jerusalem, have doomed negotiations.
The Palestinian Authority have made these Obama demands preconditions for direct talks. The Palestinians now remain comfortable with refusing even to begin discussions with the Israelis. They have in effect issued demands for unconditional surrender, knowing that the Obama Administration has repeatedly gone to bat for them, applying pressure, and shielding them from all accountability. This latest decision to release Palestinian funds despite their clear failure to abide by agreements affirms once again that Obama will tolerate no efforts to apply any kind of pressure to the Palestinians.
Pressure is to be applied to the Israelis only.
It is perhaps a great irony that those who may suffer most from Obama’s one-sidedness are the Palestinian people themselves. Abbas’s U.S. funded security forces can continue to crack down on Palestinian freedom of expression without fear that the U.S. may rein them in. They continue to educate their people with a steady diet of incitement, knowing that U.S. executive branch will keep the money flowing, ignoring the will of the American people and their elected representatives who want to see Palestinian violent rhetoric come to an end.
As President John F. Kennedy once said, “Peace does not exist in signed documents and treaties alone, but in the hearts and minds of the people.”
Under the Obama administration, America has clearly abdicated its role as “Honest Broker” or neutral referee, and has been a coach for one side. What is so nefarious is that the Palestinian Authority has gotten away with this constant and steady diet of incitement to hate and to kill, which has metastasized like a cancer among the body politic of the Palestinians.
It is very clear that the societal groundwork has not been laid for a true, lasting peace, among the Palestinian polity. While the United States looks the other way, or focuses on whether or not an apartment building might be going up in what might or might not be the disputed territories, this cancer of hatred continues to spread.
A complete and total refraining from incitement is truly the one most necessary and essential agreement for a long and lasting peace, or one that will last long after the White House lawn signing ceremony is over.
However, since the Palestinian Authority has been given a pass for such lethal words by the Obama Administration, we are enabling the hatred to continue and to thus poison the minds of countless Palestinian children, spoiling the prospects for a peace for generations to come.
In that way all of our children, both Palestinian and Israeli, are the true losers, here.