PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas meets with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in Ramallah in June. (.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
This US administration is known for its boisterous nature, for its aggressive messaging. The Trump White House is straightforward and leaves no doubt about whether it agrees or disagrees on issues, policies and politics.
So where has it been regarding the Temple Mount and metal detector crisis? After the July 14 terrorist attack which resulted in the murder of two Israeli Druse Border Police officers atop the Temple Mount, the US expressed displeasure. A week later it quietly stated condemnation of the brutal murder of members of the Salomon family in Halamish.
Hardly an American call to arms to stop these wanton acts of terrorism perpetrated by Arabs against Israelis.
Yes, presidential adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and special mediator Jason Greenblatt were dispatched to Jerusalem to represent the US in an effort to restore calm in the region. But not US Defense Secretary Rex Tillerson, the person who should have been running point were the US really serious and intent on changing the political climate in the area.
And even the arrival of the special negotiators was a full 12 days after the Temple Mount attack and five days after the Salomon family murders.
Yes, there are many issues on the proverbial plate of the White House. The Russian issue is taking up time.
Attempts to repeal Obamacare or even a “skinny repeal,” as it was dubbed, require handling and finessing – even when they ultimately fail. There is an entire country that needs to be run and an entire world that needs tending to.
Two months ago newly-installed US President Donald Trump took his first foreign trip. In Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem and Rome the president made grand proclamations about how he could – and would – bring Palestinians and Israelis and all Arabs together in peace and harmony.
The “master of the deal” would arbitrate and close the most difficult deal in history.
The promises were hyperbolic, but they were powerful.
Trump offered inspiration and hope that the world could join together not only to fight, but to eradicate, terrorism.
Even Arab leadership believed him. Trump served up Kool-Aid and everyone gulped it down.
The Palestinians’ back was against the wall, they were being pushed by the new Trump administration, by Israel and by Arab leadership.
Everyone was uniting against Islamic terrorism and the Palestinians needed to fall in line.
Now the truth emerges.
Everyone is united against terrorism – except when that terrorism is aimed at Israel and Israelis. Except when that terrorism is focused on the Jewish state. Unity was only for the fight against Islamic State and al-Qaida, with a special extension to include Hezbollah and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Two Israeli police officers are dead. Three Jewish members of one family are dead. Potentially lifesaving metal detectors have been removed from the area outside the Temple Mount. And yet the threats and incitement and insurrection from the Palestinians continue. Calls for rioting and violence, emanating from Palestinian and Muslim religious leadership, continues from the pulpit and in the media.
The White House and the State Department have been surprisingly – uncharacteristically – quiet. The only consistent statement emanating from the administration is a pitiful request for calm on all sides. Perhaps the US administration is stymied. Maybe the White House is afraid to alienate the Arab world, especially regarding the Temple Mount.
Maybe it sees its unified front against terrorism crumbling if it takes a stand against killing Israelis.
A scan of international Arabic press and Internet media clearly shows a smugness on the part of the Arab street.
The Arab street feels confident that they have defeated Israel and by extension the US by forcing the withdrawal of the metal detectors. The Arab and Muslim masses believe with all their heart that they have forced Israelis to their knees.
Palestinians, with the support of the Arab and Muslim world, fervently believe that they have broken Israel and reclaimed much needed Muslim honor.
Israelis know that there is no truth in that belief. But they cannot reconfigure this period in their conflict with the Palestinians on their own.
If there is any hope for a true peace between Palestinians and Israelis – or even a cessation or downsizing of the violence and incitement, the White House needs to regain its moral high ground vis a vis terrorism and Israel. It is not acceptable to be silent or even pro-forma when Israelis are being murdered by the hands of Palestinian terrorists at the instigation of Arab leaders.
The United States has power.
The United States must act.
The author is a political commentator. He hosts the TV show Thinking Out Loud on JBS TV.
Follow him on Twitter @Micah- Halpern.