The Biden administration’s obsession with boosting the Palestinian cause at the expense of Israel continues apace.
It was reported last week that the administration had reluctantly abandoned its proposal to reopen the Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem.
In 2019, former President Donald Trump had closed the consulate down. Israel objected to the American plan to reopen it on the basis that a mission serving Palestinian Arabs that operated from Israeli territory was an encroachment on Israeli sovereignty.
It would reinforce the impression that the United States backed the division of Jerusalem, thus undermining the powerful gesture of American support for Israel’s capital by moving the U.S. embassy in 2018 from Tel Aviv to the consulate building in Jerusalem.
Furthermore, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others stated that opening a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem would be illegal under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which requires the consent of the host country to open it, as well as the U.S. Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and as an undivided city.
It was reported that the Biden team had adopted a different tactic to boost Palestinian representation by elevating Hady Amr, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, to the role of special envoy to the Palestinians.
Under this plan, Amr would work closely with the Palestinian Affairs Unit, which currently is a branch within the U.S. embassy in Israel. This would separate American diplomats serving the Palestinians from those serving the Israelis, and would thus upgrade the Palestinians’ status by giving them direct and public access to the U.S. government.
For his own part, Amr has a history of hostility to Israel. “I was inspired by the Palestinian intifada,” he wrote in 2001. After an Israeli airstrike in 2002 killed Sheikh Salah Shahada, the head of Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Amr raged that the Arabs “will never, never forget what the Israeli people, the Israeli military and Israeli democracy have done to Palestinian children. And there will be thousands who will seek to avenge these brutal murders of innocents.”
Amr is seen as a key figure behind the Biden administration’s cooling towards Israel and its kowtowing to the Palestinians, including its plans to unconditionally restore aid to the Palestinian Authority, which was curtailed during the Trump presidency.
Whatever Amr’s actual future role, it appears that the Biden team has not given up on the consulate plan. At a press conference this week, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “We remain committed to opening a consulate in Jerusalem. We continue to believe it can be an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people.”
The hold-up in reopening it, he said, involved “unique sensitivities … and we are working through the issue with our Palestinian and Israeli partners.”
Yet what the Palestinians have been doing recently hardly justifies such respect as “America’s partners” alongside Israel.
For the P.A. repeatedly incites violence against Israeli Jews, as can be seen in the materials posted on the websites of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) and the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
On its official Fatah Facebook page, Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party, which runs the P.A., posted a video inciting Palestinians to stop the Israeli national flag march last week through Jerusalem’s Old City. “Defending Jerusalem,” it said, “is not [just] a normal duty, but rather a test of our religious and national conscience. … Jerusalem is waiting for its guardians, so don’t be negligent and don’t let their flags wave in our sky.”
The official P.A. daily ran a column attacking the flag march, in which it once again wrote the Jews out of their own national story. It falsely and ludicrously claimed that a Palestinian nation had existed for 5,000 years with Jerusalem as its capital and denied the actual fact that Jerusalem was only ever the capital of the ancient kingdom of Israel or Judea.
In a similar vein, it also claimed that the Western Wall of the Temple Mount belonged “only to believers of the religion of Islam” and called on them “to expel from it the Zionist herds who are stealing the Palestinian land and Judaism to their lairs, until it will be liberated peacefully or through other means of struggle.”
During Ramadan recently, the P.A. encouraged violence at the Al-Aqsa mosque and its surrounding plazas, as well as elsewhere in Israel. A Fatah official vowed that Fatah “won’t lower the rifle, the stone nor any [other] means of resistance to the occupation.”
These and many other calls for jihadi violence resulted in terrorist attacks during March and April leaving at least 19 Israelis murdered, including an Arab-Israeli police officer.
Fatah has named as “heroic martyrs” the two Palestinian murderers who killed eight people in two separate terror attacks in central Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak during this spate of violence. A Fatah official declared that “we love martyrdom-death as we love life,” while Palestinians chillingly chanted: “How sweet it is to kill Jews.”
Although such incitement has recently reached a crescendo, the P.A. routinely promulgates Nazi-style blood libels and “evil Jew” conspiracy lunacies; instructs its children that their highest calling is to kill Israelis and steal their land; and continues to pay terrorists’ families a reward for murdering Israeli Jews.
In any sane and morally functioning universe, such people would therefore be treated as social and political pariahs, and be held to account for their murderous agenda.
So why is the Biden administration so determined instead to elevate them? Of course, there are elements within the administration of gross anti-Zionist or anti-Jewish hatred. Such bigotry marks many Palestinian supporters in progressive circles throughout the West.
But there is also a lethal refusal to face reality in the Middle East that has characterized American administrations, as well as governments in Britain and Europe, for many decades.
This has been fed by a fundamental misconception that the war of extermination waged against Israel is instead a conflict between two rival claims to the same area of land. To those wearing such blinders, the solution must therefore be a compromise between the two sides in which the land has to be shared.
But since this is in fact a war of extermination by the Palestinian side against Israel, all such attempts at compromise serve instead to legitimize, incentivize and reward its aggression—while punishing and weakening Israel for refusing to surrender to its existential foe.
The great fallacy of American and Western liberals is that this insistence on compromise is proof of their even-handedness.
The idea of equality, and thus moral equivalence, is a supposedly cardinal precept of liberal thought. In reality, it results in grotesque and amoral inequality. By insisting on equivalence between victim and aggressor, it always ends up favoring the aggressor and placing the victim in even greater jeopardy.
It’s not possible to support the Palestinian cause without harming Israel. Palestinian supporters tell themselves they are helping those who have been deprived of a state of their own. In fact, they are aiding the potential invasion and theft of someone else’s country.
Western liberals don’t seem to realize it, but their support constitutes the Palestinians’ last chance of destroying Israel. For the Arab world has largely deserted them, and instead of trying to destroy Israel, the Arab states are increasingly “normalizing” relations with it.
In short, the murderous Palestinian train has left the station. The Biden administration and other Western liberals—clinging to their ideologically twisted fantasies about creating a new world—are apparently the last people to know.
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,” her personal and political memoir, “Guardian Angel,” has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, “The Legacy.” Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.