columnIsrael at War

Blinken’s willful blindness

Failure to see the Palestinian body politic for what it is has served only to breathe new life into its decades-old death cult.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken holding a press conference in Tel Aviv, Oct. 12, 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken holding a press conference in Tel Aviv, Oct. 12, 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.
Ruthie Blum. Credit: Courtesy.
Ruthie Blum
Ruthie Blum, an author and award-winning columnist, is a former adviser at the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Though it’s almost blasphemous to mention the Abraham Accords and the Oct. 7 massacre in the same sentence, the two have something important in common. Both exposed the lie that the “path to peace” must pass through Ramallah and Gaza City.

The first illustrated that previously hostile Arab and other Muslim-majority states—with modernization and self-preservation against the common threat of a nuclearized Iran in mind—were ripe for mutually beneficial ties with Israel.

The second proved, as if any additional evidence were required, that the road to hell—like that leading to the worst atrocities against Jews since the Holocaust—was never paved with good intentions; it has been tarred all along by Islamist ill will and evil Palestinian deeds.

To Israel’s peril and America’s detriment, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden never internalized the former and has yet to acknowledge the latter. As soon as it took office, it began to undermine the historic agreements brokered by former President Donald Trump between Israel and the Gulf states.

At the Negev Summit in March 2022 in Sde Boker, where then-Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid hosted his Bahraini, Egyptian, Moroccan and Emirati counterparts, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that “regional peace agreements are not a substitute for peace with the Palestinians.”

His resuscitation of this false premise was bad enough, especially as it coincided with an uptick in Palestinian terrorism in the streets of Israeli cities. But the fact that the overall context was Team Biden’s attempt to revive the nuclear deal with Iran from which Trump had withdrawn made it all the more significant.

This example of a disastrous foreign policy born of a disconnect from reality isn’t ancient history, by the way. The gathering in question took place a mere year and a half before Palestinian butchers broke through the Gaza border fence, raping, beheading, immolating and mutilating at least 1,200 Israelis (and foreigners), while abducting 250 others.

It should be noted here that though Hamas was the Iranian proxy whose honchos spearheaded the massacre, other terrorist groups gleefully participated in the mass sexual abuse and carnage. Palestinian Islamic Jihad was one. Fatah was another. You know, the so-called “moderate” faction headed by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Due to the extreme brutality against innocent men, women and children on that “Black Sabbath”/Simchat Torah holiday, Washington was shaken out of its reverie. So much so that Biden replaced the cold shoulder he’d been giving to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a warm embrace, at least initially.

Subsequently, what has followed since the start of “Operation Swords of Iron”—Israel’s justified war to destroy Hamas—is schizophrenic behavior on the part of Washington towards Jerusalem. Some may attribute Biden’s about-faces—rhetorical and military backing on one hand, and warnings and threats on the other—to his memory lapses.

The same can’t be said about Blinken, however. No, his conflicting messages, like his ideology, are deliberate.

Indeed, despite everything that’s emerged in the past six months—including proof that Tehran is the head of the octopus preventing stability in the Middle East; that the Abraham Accords helped form the coalition that intercepted Iran’s April 14 barrage at Israel; and that the Palestinians seek Israel’s annihilation, not a peaceful “two-state solution”—his worldview hasn’t shifted.

His mind frame enables equating the Jewish state with its foes and buying Palestinian propaganda about civilian casualties and “famine” in the Strip.

“Even as we’ve been dealing with the conflict in the Middle East and … the unprecedented attack by Iran on Israel, we’ve remained intensely focused on Gaza,” Blinken said in a press briefing at the close of the G7 meeting in Capri on Friday. “We urge the rapid implementation of Israel’s humanitarian assistance commitments—more aid, more crossings, better deconfliction, better distribution of the assistance to all who need it.”

He went on: “We also focused on the imperative of getting to a ceasefire with the release of hostages. Such a ceasefire would facilitate the dramatic expansion of the humanitarian assistance. It would also let [those] Gazans … who have been displaced from the north [return there].”

He then said, laughably, that Hamas “seems more interested in a regional conflict than it is in a ceasefire that would immediately improve the lives of the Palestinian people.”

Really?

Yes, he added, Hamas “continues to move the goalposts, and the world needs to know and … understand … that the only thing standing between a ceasefire and the Gazan people is Hamas.” 

Still, admitting that Israel isn’t the obstacle didn’t stop Blinken from reiterating his and Biden’s staunch opposition to an operation in Rafah, site of the last-standing Hamas battalions and likely location of many of the 133 hostages. This isn’t surprising, given what he told reporters during the question period.

“Let me … repeat what our focus has been and what it remains: de-escalation, avoiding conflict … and calling on all concerned to exercise restraint,” he said. “That’s what we’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks, and as necessary that’s what we’ll continue to do.”

Asked about the United States’ blocking on Thursday of a U.N. Security Council resolution to grant “Palestine” full membership as a state in the international body, Blinken reassured that American commitment to achieving a Palestinian state hasn’t wavered.

“We believe that is vital to having long-term, sustainable, durable peace and security. And, of course, it’s the only way to fulfill the … rightful aspirations of the Palestinian people,” he stressed. “But getting to that, achieving that state, has to be done through diplomacy, not through imposition.”

News flash to America’s top diplomat: No “long-term, sustainable, durable peace and security” is possible without the “imposition” of power, hard and soft, on all those bent on the demise of the United States and elimination of Israel.

Appeasement of the ayatollahs nearly unraveled the Abraham Accords, which the Palestinians were welcome to join, but refused. Failure to see the Palestinian body politic for what it is has served only to breathe new life into its decades-old death cult.

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