Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
When Donald Trump was campaigning for President, he stated frequently that he could be fair regarding the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. He is learning over time that the Palestinians are not sincere about wanting a peace agreement with Israel. In fact, I think he finally realizes that the Palestinians actually want the destruction of Israel and a legitimate peace agreement may be impossible. He has taken several steps that have shown that the US will no longer acquiesce to Palestinian demands for fairness and objectivity.
So it was no surprise when the Trump administration announced Monday that it is closing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission in Washington, citing Palestinian leaders’ resistance to peace talks and their attempts to get an international court to prosecute Israel for alleged war crimes. There is a provision in US law which states that the PLO mission must close if the Palestinians appeal to the ICC to prosecute Israel for crimes against Palestinians.
Monday, National Security Adviser John Bolton stated the following during a speech to the Federalist Society:
The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel. The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.
The United States supports a direct and robust peace process, and we will not allow the ICC (International Criminal Court), or any other organization, to constrain Israel’s right to self-defense.
While the court welcomes the membership of the so-called State of Palestine, it has threatened Israel—a liberal, democratic nation—with investigation into its actions to defend citizens from terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Gaza.
If the court comes after us, Israel or other allies, we will not sit quietly. We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system.
Saeb Erekat protested this action by the US and accused the US of a pro-Israel bias:
We reiterate that the rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale, that we will not succumb to US threats and bullying. Accordingly, we continue to call upon the International Criminal Court to open its immediate investigation into Israeli crimes.
This action follows the Trump administration’s moving of the US embassy last November from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And earlier this month, the US ended decades of funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for the Palestinian refugees after the Agency refused to make needed reforms. The cuts will total nearly $300 million in planned support.
Clearly the US is indicating that it is running out of patience with the stalemate to direct peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel. The Palestinians assume that if they can remain in the good graces of the UN and the rest of the world, they will be supported in their actions against Israel and the US.
The good news is that this pressure by the US might motivate the Palestinians to move forward toward direct talks. The bad news is that they may react violently to the latest news.
I expect the Israeli Army is watching carefully.