OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

What exactly is Biden’s issue with Israeli law enforcement?

Among the many challenges facing Israeli leaders, there is no choice but to go to battle over Biden's Executive Order targeting individual Israelis with sanctions.

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the nation from the Oval Office about the response to the recent Hamas invasion of Israel and Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine, Oct. 19, 2023. Photo by Oliver Contreras/White House.
U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the nation from the Oval Office about the response to the recent Hamas invasion of Israel and Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine, Oct. 19, 2023. Photo by Oliver Contreras/White House.
Ariel Kahana
Ariel Kahana is a diplomatic correspondent for Israel Hayom.

President Joe Biden’s Executive Order targeting four “violent, radical settlers” is not a legal move, but a political one. Yet Israel has a fairly strong hand to play against it, if it has the courage to do so.

First, it’s important to understand just how unreasonable and political the EO actually is.

The Americans’ main claim is that Israel is not sufficiently enforcing the law in Judea and Samaria, which enables “attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and Palestinian attacks against Israelis.”

But what is the administration accusing those four Israelis of doing? “Leading riots, setting vehicles and buildings on fire, damaging property, attacking Palestinians and Israelis with rocks and clubs, blocking vehicles and attempting to break windshields, engaging in activities to create an atmosphere of fear, burning fields and destroying property.”

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that all these accusations are correct. Some fights, and some property damage. Not terror. Not murder. Not shooting. Not human trafficking.

Israel, for its part, claims that it investigates, enforces the law and punishes wrongdoers. As we know, the state also brings into play draconian measures (against Jews) such as restraining orders and even administrative detention, according to the discretion of security officers.

And what happens in the United States?

According to data from the FBI, each year in the United States there are more than 20,000 unsolved murders. Not fights or property damage, but murder. Homicide. This means that U.S. authorities don’t even manage to even identify a suspect in half of murder cases, let alone put them on trial.

More than this, according to non-governmental organizations, murders of white people are solved much more often than those of Hispanics, and of Hispanics more than of blacks. That is, there are good reasons to claim that these numbers also smack of discrimination.

Does anyone dare to claim that the United States does not or cannot sufficiently enforce its laws? That it should be sanctioned? So what are we talking about here?

Beyond all of this, the White House claims that the order is also directed at “Palestinian attacks against Israelis.” If so, why were no sanctions imposed on even one Palestinian? What, according to the Americans, is the law for all the Palestinians who come to confront residents of Israeli farms?

Israel is not powerless in this conflict. It has a strong hand to play: the transfer of monies to the Palestinian Authority via Israeli banks. Few people are aware of the fact that for the past 30 years, banks in Israel have been granted de facto amnesty by U.S. authorities for executing the transfer of funds tied to terror. This, of course, is so Israel can transfer tax revenues to the P.A., something the Americans are prevented from doing by both the Bank Secrecy Act and the Tyler Force Act.

This activity by the large Israeli banks is overlooked by America because the P.A. is, of course, the apple of the U.S. administration’s eye. 

That is, Israel can simply tell the Americans: If you continue to roll rocks at us from the mountain, we’ll stop transferring money to the P.A., on the grounds that it is a financial supporter of terror. You know this is forbidden, and we know it too. So no more pretending.

Of course, this will require courage—but there is no choice.

And to all this we must add that as explained by Ambassador David M. Friedman, the EO targets anyone who opposes the idea of two states—that is, the absolute majority of Israelis. This imposition of a political position via presidential order is pretty amazing.

Bottom line: Among the many challenges facing the Israeli leadership during these days of war, there is no choice but to go to battle over this issue as well. Not, Heaven forbid, to defend violence and lawbreaking—these things are, of course, not acceptable—but to protect the position of the Israeli law enforcement system. Ultimately, the Americans are tainting it much more than those four Israelis.

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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