US Secretary of State Antony Blinken seems to think that his job entails creating moral equivalence where it doesn’t exist. The way in which he approaches Palestinian Authority aggression against Israel is a prime example.
In fairness to Blinken, he was appointed to toe the line of US President Joe Biden and the crew behind him. Luckily for all concerned – other than the Jewish state – America’s top diplomat possesses the right ideological outlook and ambition to fulfill the task with little effort.
The only pushback he encounters emanates from “Squad” Democrats and their apologists, who consider Israel to be a criminal entity and view the Palestinians as its victims. In other words, while Blinken places Palestinian terrorism on a par with Israel’s response to it, the far-left members of his party don’t even bother with the charade of equivocation.
This distinction is moot, however. Nothing short of Israeli suicide will satisfy Squad or Palestinian demands. So, peace of the kind that the Biden administration touts is nowhere on the horizon.
Blinken and Abbas
IT IS NOT clear whether Blinken is oblivious to this or merely enjoys going through the motions that playing his prominent role in international relations requires. Either way, the game itself is dangerous for Israel.
“Good to speak with Palestinian Authority President [Mahmoud] Abbas… to discuss maintaining calm and refraining from escalatory actions and the importance of advancing a two-state solution.”US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
According to the Abbas-controlled WAFA news agency, the head honcho in Ramallah was buoyed by the Blinken-initiated conversation. Whenever the little despot is treated by Washington with deference, he is encouraged to up his ante.
Nor does he listen to any form of nuance. While Blinken may have been referring to both Israelis and Palestinians when he mentioned “maintaining calm, refraining from escalatory actions and the importance of advancing a two-state solution,” Abbas heard it with selective ears.
It is thus that WAFA’s report on the telephonic tête-à-tête had a very different ring to it. In the PLO mouthpiece’s recounting of the call, Blinken and Abbas “discussed… the grave situation on [sic] the Palestinian arena, in addition to the ongoing Israeli escalation against the Palestinian people in Jerusalem and its holy sites.”
The publication further cited Abbas as having “indicated that the current situation cannot be tolerated given the absence of a political horizon, the lack of international protection for the Palestinian people and the Israeli occupation authorities’ evasion of their obligations under signed agreements and resolutions of international legitimacy, along with their ongoing unilateral actions and settler intrusions into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, including the recent ‘March of the Flags,’ organized by Israeli Jewish supremacists to celebrate Israel’s occupation and colonization of East Jerusalem.”
It went on to assert that both Blinken and Abbas “touched upon the fact that Palestinian [sic] are denied access to Jerusalem’s holy sites to perform their religious rites and prayers freely in flagrant violation of the historical status quo in addition to ongoing forced expulsions of Palestinian families from Jerusalem neighborhoods, home demolitions, extrajudicial killings, unabated colonial settlement construction and settler terrorism.”
DESPITE BLINKEN’S leanings, it is doubtful that he was an active participant in the above depiction. Furthermore, as a perpetual liar, Abbas likely fed WAFA an embellished account even of his own ramblings. Self-aggrandizement, especially at Israel’s expense, is his modus operandi – a way of pretending to the Palestinians over whom he rules that he is not only relevant on the world stage but just as bent on Israel’s destruction as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
This explains the rest of the WAFA article, through which the PA chief boasted about what he ostensibly announced to Blinken: that the “Palestinian leadership is in the process of taking measures to confront this Israeli escalation, in light of the international community’s inability to compel Israel to comply with the resolutions of international legitimacy and halt its criminal and occupying practices and measures of ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination, and in light of the US administration’s silence on these Israeli provocations and practices, which flagrantly violate international law.”
He wanted readers to believe that he “stressed the need for the US administration to turn its words into actions, and not be satisfied with the policy of condemnation, denunciation and silence on these unilateral Israeli measures.”
Interspersing reality with fantasy, WAFA acknowledged that Blinken had “affirmed the Biden administration’s commitment to the two-state solution, preserving the status quo and halting colonial settlement expansion, forced expulsions and unilateral actions on both sides, while stressing the administration’s commitment to reopening the US consulate in Jerusalem.”
Blinken probably didn’t use the word “colonial,” but the rest of the paraphrase was accurate, as is evident in all Biden administration blather about the goings-on in Israel. This, of course, now includes platitudes about the May 11 death of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh during an IDF raid in Palestinian-terrorist-infested Jenin.
The PA is propagating the absurd claim that Abu Akleh was targeted by Israeli snipers. Israel is attempting to complete an investigation, requesting neutral American assistance in the endeavor. But the PA is refusing to hand over the bullet that killed her.
Blinken and his buddies overseas have been urging Israel to complete a probe into the incident as soon as possible. What they don’t appear to grasp, or would rather gloss over, is that a ballistic examination cannot be performed without the ammunition.
WAFA chronicled Blinken’s comment to Abbas on this matter as an expression of the US administration’s “keenness to conduct an investigation… with the aim of prosecuting and holding [Abu Akleh’s] murderers accountable.”
It is implausible that Blinken referred to “murderers” in this context, as remarks by State Department spokesman Ned Price suggested. This is undoubtedly due to the assumption that Abu Akleh was caught in crossfire.
WHEN GRILLED about it during his daily briefing on Tuesday, Price replied: “Well, I can tell you what we have urged of our Israeli partners, and Secretary Blinken even over the weekend had another opportunity to reinforce this message with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Lapid. As he told… Lapid, we urge the Israeli government to swiftly conclude their investigation… We expect full accountability for those responsible for [Abu Akleh’s] killing, and… have urged that the sides share their evidence with each other to facilitate that investigation. And we continue to call on all sides to maintain calm and to prevent further escalation.”
To avoid the wrath of the Al Jazeera reporter questioning him on why the US isn’t getting involved when the Palestinians “don’t really trust any investigation by the Israelis,” Price then shifted the topic to press freedom.
“We stand with journalists around the world who are doing their jobs in situations that sometimes are unfortunately dangerous, where they are often in a position of putting themselves in dangerous situations to do a job, to fulfill a task that is indispensable,” he said.
What Price and his boss conveniently omitted this week is that Israel – whose forces were in Jenin due to a sharp spike in deadly terrorist attacks – asked for American help with the investigation, while the PA has been refusing to cooperate. But admonishing Abbas would disrupt the Biden administration’s false narrative about the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and the nonexistent “two-state solution” to it.
Such moral equivalence from Washington is simply immoral.