The Bankruptcy of Biden’s Middle East Policy – OpEd – Eurasia Review

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent an underling named Barbara Leaf to the Middle East do something. We don’t know what. But the dispatches say she had two messages: one for Israel and another for the PA. The latter is so angry against the Americans and the Israelis, that the octogenarian PA Pres. Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet her. Instead, she had to settle for meeting Abbas’ number two, Hussein al-Sheikh.

She apparently wanted to lecture them on what a bad idea would be to apply for UN membership. Of course, she didn’t say why it was a bad idea. But presumably, she uttered the pablum that it would alienate Israelis and make a deal impossible. She probably also threatened to veto statehood if it came before the Security Council. Imagine a country that claims to support a two-state solution and veto a Palestinian attempt to establish… a state. Of course, this proves that the two states are a cruel mirage. It does not exist and never can exist. No one believes it, even if they say so. Actions matter, words are cheap and mean nothing. Blinken and Biden can flood the Middle East with a lot of words. But they don’t want to do anything. It is beyond hypocrisy. It’s actually toxic and makes anyimpossible solution If you say “there is a solution” when there is none, you create a cruel mirage, which blocks all real the solution.

Sheikh noted this when criticizing the United States for not bringing any new proposals or improved conditions for the Palestinians. In other words, despite any pressure or persuasion the US tried with the Israelis, it failed. And Leaf came to Ramallah empty-handed.

here are the derisory crumbif it served the Palestinians:

The United States wants Israel to help by implementing many of the measures it committed to during Biden’s trip, including reduce delays experienced by Palestinians when crossing the Allenby Bridge and allowing the installation of the 4G cellular networks in the West Bank.

That’s all: we propose to slightly relax the stifling Israeli control of all entry and exit points from the West Bank. And we will entice the Israelis to install an already outdated cellular network. A network, by the way, that IDF Unit 8200 intercepts in a massive datamining operation, to identify and recruit informants and ferret out future terrorists.

As I have already said here: what does the United States take the Palestinians for? Fools ? That they will be led to believe that they are being offered something meaningful, when they are actually being offered gornisht? That they are so desperate that they will settle for crumbs, instead of rights?

US asks Israel: Please, please be kind to the Palestinians

For the Israelis, Leaf told them: please stop killing Palestinians. Stop night raids and killings of Palestinians. Oh, and could you please be nicer to the PA? To which the Israelis responded, as the mobile phone advertisement said: “I can’t to listen you!!”

The Palestinians, meanwhile, argued that the unrest in their cities was directly linked to the escalation of Israeli violence against them:

Al-Sheikh said Palestinian officials responded by saying the United States should “pressure Israel to stop its unilateral actions on the ground and its incursions into Palestinian cities.”

…They think the IDF will operate at night and we will operate during the day? We cannot function when the Israeli army enters our cities every day, arresting and killing people. What are they waiting for? said al-Sheikh.

… “Israel is the one that weakens the Palestinian Authority by suffocating it economically, then it complains about the weakness of our security forces. We have been telling the Israelis for a year now that their actions are weakening the Palestinian Authority and leading to escalation.

Essentially, Israel wants the PA security services to do the dirty work for them. And when the Palestinians fall short, then Israel berates them for not living up to expectations. But as Sheikh said, why should the PA be Israel’s attack dog? What motivation did Israel give to the PA? When you ask someone for something and offer nothing in return, that’s raw business. You shouldn’t expect anyone to go along with such a charade.

Israel’s excuse for refusing to act on the US demand for a cessation of violence has already been used many times:

…[Shin Bet chief Ronen] Bar told Leaf that the Shin Bet supports strengthening the PA, but it’s harder to make decisions right now because of Israel’s November elections.

Every time a reporter asks the State Department why it doesn’t put more pressure on the Israelis, they repeat the same argument. Things are tricky. We don’t want to provoke any conflict that could harm the electoral prospects of the moderates we favor. While refusing to acknowledge that “moderates” are no different from the extremists we profess to hate.

Here is an example of the shameful brutal violence of the Israeli occupation forces against a Palestinian girl. Notice how many male Border Patrol thugs it takes to subdue a 70-pound girl, in addition to the beatings she receives from their hands…or batons. This is the kind of brutality the US politely asks Israelis to stop:

PM Lapid had a characteristic Israeli response to US pressure to restrict Israeli killings of Palestinians (euphemistically called “the rules of engagement”):

“I hear the calls to change our rules of engagement,” he says.

… “The IDF never intentionally shoots innocent people. We are deeply committed to some of the toughest rules of engagement in the world,” Lapid said.

“But to be clear, I will not allow an IDF soldier who was protecting himself from terrorist fire to be prosecuted just to receive applause from abroad,” Lapid continued.

“No one will dictate our rules of engagement to us, while it is we who are fighting for our lives. Our soldiers have the full support of the government of Israel and the people of Israel,” he adds.

Even if you concede his response was intended for a national audience, it’s an expression of naked defiance and a slap in the face at the Biden administration. It allows Israel to continue its war crimes against the Palestinians knowing that the United States cannot and will not hold it accountable, even for the murder of renowned Palestinian journalist and American citizen, Shireen Abu Akleh.

It’s a mystery why Israel has staged hundreds of these raids in recent weeks. They could be in response to the four terrorist attacks inside Israel last spring. Most of the attackers came from Jenin, and most IDF raids took place there as well. It is possible that the success of the Palestinian attacks inspired others to engage in similar acts of resistance.

It is possible that after the recent onslaught against Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Israel has taken a tough stance against all forms of resistance. Although that seems unlikely.

The United States and Israel complain that the PA is losing control of cities like Jenin and Nablus, where militant activity is on the rise. They demand that Abbas do whatever needs to be done to curb militancy:

Shin Bet director Ronen Bar, who heads Israel’s internal security service responsible for intelligence gathering in the West Bank and Gaza, told Leaf he was very concerned about the PA’s situation and the forces’ ability. Palestinian security forces to function…

This is putting the cart before the horse. Resistance does not arise spontaneously without a driving force. This is in response to Israeli acts of violence – just like the brutal raids in which Israeli troops send hundreds of soldiers into towns, break down doors, ransack homes, arrest dozens of residents. This is what stimulates resistance. If Israel wanted to restore calm, it would put an end to these provocations.

But Israel has no strategy. His strategy is cold, hard brutality. Hit them hard, keep hitting them until… well, they don’t know how far. Because there is no end in sight. And that’s perfectly fine for the Israelis who are doing quite well, thank you. The economy is buzzing. There is money to be made. Luxuries to buy. Exports of weapons and surveillance technology are an important part of this success. Most Israelis live the good life thanks to being Sparta-by-the-Sea.

So if the oppression of Palestinians is the price Israel pays for its luxury, it seems cheap and worthwhile. Shut down army violence. Let the 18-year-olds do the dirty work on the streets of Hebron, Jenin and Shuafat, while we enjoy our lattes in the cafes of Tel Aviv. As far as the Israelis are concerned, they could go on like this indefinitely. And probably until the world wakes up and forces Israel to accept a deal it has resisted for decades. But the chances of that happening, at least now, are zero.

This article was published on Tikun Olam

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