OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

Biden’s ‘reformed PA’ marketing strategy

The entire idea is just a ploy to impose a Palestinian state on the Israelis.

Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting in Ramallah, July 25, 2019. Credit: Flash90.
Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting in Ramallah, July 25, 2019. Credit: Flash90.
Moshe Phillips
Moshe Phillips is a commentator on Jewish affairs whose writings appear regularly in the American and Israeli press.  

The Biden administration’s ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said this week “it is essential that the Palestinian Authority work to reform itself and that it do so as quickly as possible.”

But when it comes to the P.A., “as quickly as possible” means years, decades or perhaps never.

We’ve been hearing for more than seven months that the P.A. needs to be “reformed” and “revitalized.” There is no evidence that the P.A. has moved in that direction. Nonetheless, Biden administration officials keep repeating their “revitalization” formula as if it were realistic, probable or even already underway.

U.S. President Joe Biden launched the “reformed P.A.” idea in an op-ed in The Washington Post on Nov. 18. “As we strive for peace,” he wrote, “Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution.”

Biden didn’t explain what this “revitalization” might consist of and administration officials have never spelled it out. That’s because it was never meant as a serious policy proposal. It’s a way of making the administration’s Palestinian statehood plan sound reasonable and feasible. In other words, it’s a marketing strategy.

If the Biden administration genuinely insisted on a “reformed” or “revitalized” P.A., here are the minimal steps required to realize the idea:

  • P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is now serving the 19th year of his four-year term, would have to resign.
  • Democratic elections would have to be held in the P.A.-controlled territories.
  • The P.A. would have to stop committing wanton civil rights violations, torture of dissidents and other abuses. It would also have to stop persecuting minorities and tolerating “honor killings” of Muslim women.
  • The P.A. would have to stop paying salaries and other financial rewards to imprisoned terrorists and the families of dead terrorists.
  • The P.A. would have to change the names of hundreds of streets and schools that are named after terrorists.
  • The P.A. would have to extradite terrorists to Israel; arrest and imprison terrorists; disarm, outlaw and expel terrorist groups, many connected to the P.A.; and halt anti-Jewish incitement—all of which are required by the Oslo Accords.

Does anyone really expect any of this to happen? Of course not. Moreover, the White House and the State Department know it will never happen. That’s why they came up with the sham terms “reformed P.A.” and “revitalized P.A.,” which sound nice but mean nothing.

Last March, Abbas replaced some of his cabinet ministers, which he periodically does for various internal P.A. reasons. Naturally, the U.S. State Department jumped on the news in hopes of boosting its plan to create a Palestinian state that will be run by a “reformed P.A.”

Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the Biden administration was looking forward to working with the new group of ministers “to deliver on credible reforms” because “a revitalized P.A. is essential to delivering results for the Palestinian people in both the West Bank and Gaza.”

That was three months ago. Clearly, the reform and revitalization that Miller applauded didn’t amount to much, since Thomas-Greenfield is still prattling on about the need for the P.A. “to reform itself and that it do so as quickly as possible.”

It’s time for Biden, Miller and Thomas-Greenfield to admit the truth: There never was any real plan to “reform” or “revitalize” the P.A. The entire idea is just a ploy to impose a Palestinian state on the Israelis. Friends of Israel can see right through it.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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