OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

The only thing between Biden and a PLO consulate in Jerusalem is the threat of Netanyahu

The U.S. administration is trying to decide: is toppling the Israeli coalition and putting Netanyahu back in office worth the price of the consulate to the PLO?

Israeli opposition leader and former premier Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Muni Expo 2021 conference in Tel Aviv, on Oct. 21, 2021. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Israeli opposition leader and former premier Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Muni Expo 2021 conference in Tel Aviv, on Oct. 21, 2021. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli-born journalist who writes for conservative publications.

The short version:

The Trump administration finally moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, which is Israel’s actual capital. The Biden administration wants to neutralize that move by opening a consulate to the PLO in Jerusalem. Even though the PLO government is actually in Ramallah, where even Russia and China have housed their diplomatic missions to the PLO. The Israelis have suggested that if Biden wants a mission to the PLO, he should open one in Ramallah. But Biden’s people want Jerusalem.

And that’s where we left off.

Normally, the Democrats would just bring further pressure to bear, but there’s one big problem: Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s governing coalition is a fragile mess that was forged to topple Netanyahu. It will collapse if you look at it the wrong way, and in a parliamentary democracy that means the government falls to a no-confidence vote, and then it’s all over.

So, reminiscent of a certain famous scene in Blazing Saddles, it has the incredible ability to take itself hostage, previously enjoyed only by the PLO.

In an article published by Axios last week, Israeli journalist Barak Ravid wrote that “Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid discussed the consulate issue during their meeting in Washington last Wednesday.

“Lapid pushed back on the U.S. position, saying, ‘I don’t know how to hold this coalition together if you reopen the consulate,’ according to Israeli officials.

“Blinken said he understood the sensitive political situation and wants to start a dialogue to work toward a solution, the officials say.”

The solution being the one that he and his boss want. But the calculus here is whether toppling the Israeli governing coalition and putting Netanyahu back in office is worth the price of the consulate to the PLO.

“The U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint team to hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Israeli officials say,” wrote Ravid.

Discreet indeed.

The Biden regime wants its terror consulate. Lapid and much of the coalition would be fine with it, but they have to keep the few “conservative” members of the coalition from bolting at the betrayal of Jerusalem. And to do that they need something that seems compelling.

Blinken’s people are likely to offer worthless security guarantees on Iran, or apparently a deal with Saudi Arabia, but that’s paying for the relationship with Saudi currency. And neither one is likely to make Israeli voters and those politicians who hope to have a future in public office rethink this betrayal.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

This article was first published by FrontPage Magazine.

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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