Biden should speak to Israelis in West Bank, not about them - opinion

Biden is coming right here, to hear and see only the Arab perspective, in Ramallah, and not the Jewish perspective.

 Jewish settlers look on during a march near Hebron in the West Bank, June 21, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/MUSSA QAWASMA)
Jewish settlers look on during a march near Hebron in the West Bank, June 21, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/MUSSA QAWASMA)

As an integral part of the State of Israel, the Jewish towns and villages in Judea and Samaria welcome every president of the United States who comes to visit here, as follows from the deep partnership between the Jewish nation and the American nation, and between Israel and the USA.

If the honorable US President Joe Biden also shares these views, he must conduct himself accordingly. When the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are the focus of the peace process debate, it would be fitting for the president to speak with us and not only about us. I am not demanding compliance with rules of etiquette, but rather expect such from someone who wants to decide the fate of others and strives toward a “solution.”

I believe that the average American would not buy a house without investigating, seeing and checking. Why then, when such a sensitive peace process issue is at stake, with historical, national and religious ramifications on a global scale, is the US president not coming to see “the property?”

Allow me to illustrate the absurdity of this situation: the president is planning to visit a place less than three miles, or five minutes by car, from where I am sitting in my office, writing these lines. Biden is coming right here, to hear and see only the Arab perspective, in Ramallah, and not the Jewish perspective, from the site of the Tabernacle in Shiloh, or the nearby community of Beit El.

Regretfully, according to Biden’s itinerary, he is not planning to either see or hear the story of the half million residents, and the 4,000-year history of this region – since the times of the patriarch Abraham.

 US PRESIDENT Joe Biden waves as he boards Air Force One for a flight to Los Angeles this week. If Biden is coming to the Mideast to criticize and slow Israeli building in Judea and Samaria and greater Jerusalem, pull back, says the writer. (credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS) US PRESIDENT Joe Biden waves as he boards Air Force One for a flight to Los Angeles this week. If Biden is coming to the Mideast to criticize and slow Israeli building in Judea and Samaria and greater Jerusalem, pull back, says the writer. (credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

If Biden were to come here, I would show him the project files that are sitting on my desk, and which are aimed at providing a good life for everyone. The matters that I am promoting, and which Biden could help, will greatly improve the lives of the Palestinians – with better roads, with advanced medical services and with the protection of the environment – far more than futile diplomatic visits.

Questions for Biden

Still, I will provide Biden with a few important questions that I would ask him to present to my Arab neighbors: Why are they and the Palestinian Authority leadership funding salaries and stipends to terrorists who murder Jews? The president can also ask why, every single day, dozens of Arabs attempt to murder Jews by throwing stones at their cars along the highways, and the leadership does nothing to stop them? 

Anyone who cares about protecting the environment will be happy if the president demands answers from the Palestinian Authority regarding the massive scope of the environmental contamination occurring in its jurisdiction – tons of garbage being thrown into the streams, the daily burning of plastic at illegal dump sites and the ecological damage that no one is curtailing. This is happening, by the way, despite the millions of dollars of American taxpayer funds that are being transferred to the PA every year.

A few months ago, 10 congressmen from Biden’s party visited my home in Psagot. These congressmen are senior figures who are highly esteemed in the US, and by me. They came with a solid opinion of the dispute in Judea and Samaria, but displayed surprisingly little knowledge about the issues.

I believe that in the development of the coronavirus vaccine, the US authorities hired the best scientists to study the virus. If so, why, in the crucial matter of foreign policy regarding Israel’s rights, which already appear in the Bible, high-ranking officials are allowing themselves to make decisions without studying the facts or learning the background?

Such actions lead to destruction and increased terror, and the ones who pay the blood-price for this are my constituents in the Judea and Samaria communities. Make no mistake, the waves of this evil reach the US too. Today the Palestinians side with those opposing America. They stand alongside Iran and al-Qaeda. We are all living in a single global village. If the evil axis gains power in our part of the world, that evil will very quickly make its way to other countries in the free world.

I therefore extend a warm invitation to the US president for a proper state visit. If Biden still wants to skip such a visit, as a friend I would recommend that he focus on promoting agreements between the nations of the world and Israel, and deal less with a matter that he does not intend to address professionally and in earnest. The formulation of trade and peace agreements between the nations of the world and Israel will boost positive global energies and will also benefit the American people.

The writer is head of the Binyamin Regional Council and a leading figure in the Jewish towns and villages of Judea and Samaria.