by Hugh Fitzgerald
Biden may assure us he’s “got Israel’s back,” but his policies tell a different story. On the Iranian issue, a matter of the gravest concern for Israel, the US is rushing back, if Iran will only let it save face, into the miserable nuclear deal. The accord paves the way for Iran’s nuclear armament after 2030, will funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to the terrorist organizations Tehran arms, including the Houthis in Yemen, the Kata’ib Hezbollah in Iraq, and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and will allow the ayatollahs to continue to develop a ballistic missile system that threatens regional peace. Having apparently learned nothing from the past, in the Palestinian arena, Biden has renewed economic aid to the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, without monitoring where the money goes or implementing reforms that would see incitement removed from Palestinian textbooks once and for all. And he is blatantly violating the Taylor Force Act, by lavishing funds on the PA even though it continues with its “Pay-For-Slay” program — financially rewarding terrorists and their families – that the Taylor Force Act was intended to end. “Biden’s pick for undersecretary of defense should worry Israel,” by Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom, April 11, 2021:
As for international organizations, Biden removed sanctions on the International Criminal Court and its chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
Despite US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s assurances Washington would have Israel’s back when it came to the ICC, there are rumors a shady deal is being cut that would see the US administration revoke sanctions in return for the closure of investigations against members of the US military. As for the Israelis, however, the Americans have reportedly alluded to the ICC that it should proceed as it sees fit.
Given the outrageous attempt by the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to claim that she has jurisdiction over Israel even though the Jewish State has never joined the ICC, the Biden Administration ought to have continued with the sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration on her and her chief deputy Phakiso Mochochoko. The Bidenites have not explained why they refuse to do this, given Bensouda’s ultra vires attempt to extend the iCC’s jurisdiction over a country, Israel, that is not a signatory to the Rome Statute creating the ICC. Is this what Biden and Blinken mean when they claim “we have Israel’s back”? Blinken pledged to defend Israel from the ICC, but has done nothing to help the Jewish state. Instead, he and his boss have rejoined the ICC, and are throwing Israel to the ICC wolves.
Biden promised an improved nuclear deal, but nothing of the sort is on the table.
How many times did Biden and Blinken promise that they would seek to “lengthen and strengthen” the original Iran deal? Yet here we are, in April, with indirect negotiations with Iran going on in Vienna, and all such talk has disappeared. It is clear that the Americans want to return to the very same, disastrous deal that the U.S. entered in 2015. The “sunset” clauses that will allow Iran to break out as a nuclear power in 2030 will remain. There will be no attempt to have the treaty cover Iran’s work on ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. There will be no attempt, either, to have the treaty deal with Iran’s regional aggressions, through proxies and allies, in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
In his confirmation hearings in the Senate, Blinken declared the renewal of US aid to the Palestinians would be conditioned on the end of their Pay-For-Slay scheme – meaning, that he would adhere to the Taylor Force Act. But since then the Administration has pledged large sums – hundreds of millions of dollars – to both the PA and to UNRWA, describing that money as “humanitarian aid,” as if that meant such funds could be considered an exemption allowed by the Taylor Force Act. There is no such exemption. And the Pay-For-Slay program continues with no let-up.
Blinken even committed to defending Israel from the ICC, but in the meantime, all the US has done is revoke sanctions on the international body.
Biden may want to support Israel – he keeps assuring us he does – but if so he has a most peculiar way of going about it. He has done nothing to protect Israel at the ICC, but instead has lifted American sanctions on Fatou Bensouda and her deputy, and rejoined the ICC itself. Israel now knows it has been left on its own to deal with Bensouda and her outrageous claim of jurisdiction over the Jewish state, which never joined the ICC.
Biden may insist he supports Israel, but he has done nothing to uphold, and everything to undermine, the Taylor Force Act, which was intended to discourage Palestinian terror attacks on the Jewish state. He has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians, in direct violation of the Taylor Force Act, which prohibits such aid as long as the “Pay-For-Slay” program, that both rewards those who have already committed terrorist acts against Israel and incentivizes would-be future terrorists, remains in force. Pay-For-Slay is still going strong, but Biden has no intention of letting that prevent him from lavishing American aid on the PA, as he thumbs his nose at the members of Congress, of both parties, who are outraged at his ignoring the Taylor Force Act.
Biden may insist he supports Israel, but he has shown a readiness to capitulate to the Jewish state’s mortal enemy, Iran. He is ready to return to the Iran deal as it was in 2015. All that talk of “lengthening and strengthening” the JCPOA by Biden and especially Tony Blinken has stopped. There will be no attempt to enlarge this agreement to cover either Iran’s ballistic missile program or its regional aggressions.
Biden may insist he supports Israel, but his State Department spokesman, Ned Price, has been allowed to describe the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan as “occupied by Israel.”
Biden can continue to tell us just how fond he is of Israel, and how he will always have “Israel’s back,” but his policies, and his appointments, tell a different tale. He has allowed the PLO to reopen an office in Washington, has reopened an American consulate in east Jerusalem, has ignored the Taylor Force Act, and is sending hundreds of millions of dollars to both the PA and to UNRWA, has lifted Trump-imposed sanctions on ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, and appointed to high positions people with a long history of deep animus toward the Jewish state, including Robert Malley, Reema Dodin, Maher Bitar, Uzra Zeya, and now, Colin Kahl. And he’s only begrudgingly offered lukewarm praise for Trump’s greatest diplomatic triumph, the Abraham Accords, which do not fit with Biden’s belief that Arab states will only normalize ties with Israel once a Palestinian state is established. Don’t confuse him with the new, and astonishing Middle East reality that the Abraham Accords have created; that article of faith for generations of failed peace-processors is not something Biden is likely to relinquish.
First published in Jihad Watch.