(Taylor) Forcing the issue
In March 2016 an American citizen and veteran, Taylor Force, while visiting Tel Aviv, was stabbed and killed by a Palestinian Arab terrorist. This brought US attention to the PA’s despicable practice of paying financial incentives to terrorists and their families, with the amount increasing according to the number of deaths and injuries they inflicted on innocent civilians.
As a result, the Taylor Force Act was passed by Congress and signed into law in March 2018, rendering it illegal for the US government to provide financial aid to the PA as long as its policy of financially incentivizing terrorism remains in place. Since then the PA has continued to make these payments at a rate of well over $100 million per year.
Recently the Biden-Harris administration announced that it would begin providing $15 million per month ($180 million a year) to the PA for “humanitarian” purposes, and several days ago it announced it would provide an additional $75 million. It offered no comment on the fact that this is in effect a blatant violation of the Taylor Force Act. These illegal payments, which will enable the PA to continue doling out generous stipends for its “pay for slay” policy should be canceled immediately.
Taylor Force and all the other American and Israeli victims of Palestinian Arab terrorism deserve no less.
DANIEL H. TRIGOBOFF, PH.D.
Williamsville, New York
Regarding “US pledges $15m to Palestinians as first step to restore funding” (March 29), it is very strange that the US – which has proclaimed undying friendship with Israel and fulsomely praised the democratic values we share with them – should pledge millions of dollars as “just the first step” to restore funding to the PA, which offers money to its citizens to murder Jews and thus makes terrorists of its people. For several decades, the PA has abused their children’s minds by filling their textbooks and media with hate against the Jewish people and especially Israeli Jews.
I find it difficult to swallow that an American president would reward the so-called Palestinians for their behavior against their bosom buddies.
Preoccupied with ‘occupation’
It is extremely disappointing to read that the Biden Administration United States Report on Global Human Rights Practices uses the language of “Israeli occupation of territory” (“US report reaffirms Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, speaks of occupation,” March 31).
This position of the Biden Administration contravenes a full century of international agreements, including the Charter of the United Nations:
• The San Remo Agreement (1920);
• The League of Nations (1922); and
• Article 80 of the United Nations Charter (1946) which supersedes any vote of the General Assembly or Security Council. Article 80 requires every member of the United Nations to obey the British Mandate, which declared what today is Israel – including Judea and Samaria – as the reconstituted homeland of the Jewish people and therefore is sovereign Jewish territory.
As Eugene Rostow, former dean of Yale Law School and undersecretary of state in a Democratic administration wrote in The New York Times in September 1983:
“Israel has an unassailable legal right to establish settlements in the West Bank. The West Bank is part of the British Mandate in Palestine, which included Israel and Jordan as well as certain other territories not yet generally recognized as belonging to either country. While Jewish settlement east of the Jordan River was suspended in 1922, such settlements remained legal in the West Bank.
All rights vesting under mandates were preserved by Article 80 of the United Nations Charter. And they survived the end of British administration in Palestine as a ‘’sacred trust’’ – exactly the legal posture for Namibia after South Africa ceased to be the mandatory power.
Simply put, Israel cannot “occupy” what for 100 years the international community has declared to be the sovereign reconstituted homeland of the Jewish people.
Regarding “Our longstanding position is West Bank is occupied, US administration clarifies” (April 2), the memory of the lies of Breckinridge Long and his State Department subordinates in the 1930s and 1940s is obviously still honored by their successors in that part of the US administration – especially by those living in the “occupied territories” of the United States of America, which includes most, if not all, of its component states.
Regarding “Our longstanding position is West Bank is occupied, US administration clarifies” (April 2), why has the Biden administration reversed policy toward the PA? Is it just to differentiate itself from former president Donald Trump or do they have a goal?
Who are the “Palestinian” people? Until 1964, the people called Palestinians were Jews. Christians, Muslims and others living in the British Mandate for Palestine identified with their clans and with the regions from which they migrated. Many just considered themselves to be Arabs.
In 1956, when America pulled out of the Aswan Dam project, Russia stepped in to fill the gap. In 1964 the KGB created the Palestine Liberation Organization. Its mission was to drive the “infidels” out of the Middle East. Its charter called for killing every Jew in Israel. Its modus operandi was terrorism. The KGB selected Yasser Arafat, an Egyptian soldier, training in Russia, to lead the PLO. He became the first Arab to call himself a Palestinian. It was only after the Arabs’ humiliating defeat in the 1967 Six-Day War that the term “Palestinian” came into common usage.
Why is America restoring Palestinian funding? Money is fungible. Designating money for COVID frees up other money to fund pay-to-slay, for example. Trump cut funding to the intransigent PLO and fostered the Abraham Accords, a major development for Mideast normalization. The Peace to Prosperity plan laid out a map giving the PA more land than Egypt and Jordan had controlled and giving Israel border security.
The Obama/Biden suggestion of a two-state solution based on the 1949 armistice lines is a giant step backward of more than 70 years that will merely kick the can down the road, taking the US out of the game. China has proposed hosting Palestinian-Israeli bilateral peace talks. How does that serve America’s interests?
LEN BENNETT, AUTHOR OF UNFINISHED WORK
US President Joe Biden, who misses no opportunity to express alarm at the “ugly poisons” of “systemic racism and white supremacy” (his words) that plague his America, feels that his US has the moral authority to dictate where indigenous Jews can and cannot live in their ancestral homeland?
Joe – look in a mirror. Think clearly. What you are advocating is ugly, poisonous and racist.
Say what you want while you can, but I’ll still be living rightfully here in my hometown (“settlement” to you) long after you have left the White House.
“Blinken to Ashkenazi: Palestinians, Israelis must equally enjoy democracy” (April 4) informs us that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “emphasized the administration’s belief that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy.”
By itself, this goal is a worthy one. But Blinken goes on to opine that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria “exacerbate tensions and... undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution.” He also mentions actions of the Palestinians’ “incitement to violence, providing compensation for individuals in prison for acts of terrorism. That, too, moves us further away from a two-state solution.”
The absence of elementary logic in this familiar flawed argument is mind-boggling. For example,
1) The notion that there can be a viable two-state solution was deeply flawed from the start. How can that be achieved if one side defines its long-term objective as the elimination of the other?
2) The malignant attribution of the moral equivalence of the maintenance of peaceful communities to incitement to and compensation for acts of terrorism is frankly disgusting. Intifadas that killed thousands of civilians continue to be disregarded.
3) The reintroduction of US funding for the corrupt PA is a meaningless bribe that has not and will not alter their behavior.
4) The dishonest view that somehow Israeli settlements are a primary cause of the Palestinians’ inability to enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy is a downright lie. The main problem is the failure of the population to throw out their corrupt leaders who are the reasons for these inequalities and to take responsibility for their situation. The corrosive ideology of removing any responsibility from those who claim victimhood – condemning them to continue in their deplorable situation – seems to be back in fashion.
Moreover, the new administration’s incomprehensible submission to the most outrageous demands of the ayatollas in Iran just to participate in indirect negotiations with them indicates that this is part of a malignant mindset that ignores reality in the name of juvenile wishful thinking. After all, no regime in the Middle East is as culpable as Iran in sponsoring horrendous violence, both at home and all over the region, in undermining existing regimes, and in threatening to destroy the only truly democratic state in the region. And yet the US blissfully ignores the pleas of the victimized citizens of Iran for assistance in regaining their freedom.
Apparently the Democrats have learned nothing from their recent history, where bribing and therefore rewarding enemies is considered to be sophisticated diplomacy and abandoning their traditional and loyal allies is considered to be even-handedness.
The discussion of whether Israel should engage in the ICC’s formal investigation of the situation of the “State of Palestine” (“Is the ICC a threat to Israel? Revealing what is at stake,” March 30) brought to mind my experience as a student at a leading American law school years ago.
While writing a research paper on Israel’s use of administrative detention for security reasons, I contacted both Israeli and Palestinian officials to ask for their views on this practice.
The Israeli officials responded with voluminous printed materials and a clear statement asserting justification for the practice. The Palestinians responded with a single letter stating that since I was working under the guidance of a Jewish pro-Israel professor, I could not possibly be objective or fair-minded. They therefore refused to engage on the issue in any way.
The Palestinian response guaranteed that my paper would contain quotes and observations from one side, with very little from the other. There was no way for me to include much – if any – source material from the Palestinian side.
No doubt Palestinian officials reading my finished product would say that it justified their refusal to participate because it was so one-sided. They would not admit that their own refusal to contribute virtually guaranteed that outcome. Others reading my paper would have no idea why there was a paucity of information presenting the Palestinian position.
A similar scenario played out regarding the UNHRC’s 2009 investigation into Operation Cast Lead headed by Richard Goldstone. While Israel’s hesitation to participate in the process was understandable in light of the UNHRC’s previously demonstrated anti-Israel bias, its absence made the negative findings inevitable.
Few people who read the Goldstone report recognized that Israel had not participated on principle. Those who knew of Israel’s absence could well take it as an admission of guilt. After all, if Israel had a convincing defense to the charges, why not shout it from the rooftops?
Much as it pains us to take part in what may be an exercise in futility, we cannot hope to win anyone over to our side if we do not defend ourselves forthrightly at every opportunity. Our failure to make the case forcefully opposing unjust actions taken against Israel encapsulates much of what has been wrong with Israel’s halfhearted, grossly underfunded “hasbara” for so many years.
EFRAIM A. COHEN, FORMER ASST. PROFESSOR OF LAW
Regarding “Jordan warns Israel it’s violating status quo on Temple Mount” (April 4), there is always someone warning us about something and usually it is because we don’t take responsibility for what is ours.
What in fact is being violated here is the right of the Jewish People to its holiest site, which should be under total Israeli control – as, of course, should be the whole Land of Israel. A proud nation does not allow itself to be treated with such contempt.
It is ludicrous that those whose religion did not exist until 2,200 years after Judaism should dictate to us – and even have a prime minister encourage this humiliation. It’s time for the people to stand up with pride for what is theirs.
“Blinken to Ashkenazi: Palestinians, Israelis must equally enjoy democracy” (April 4) is another example where we are allowing others to dictate to us. There is only one people in all of human history who returned to their historic land and that is the Jewish people – to settle and rebuild it for the Jewish People.
There is no other people with rights to this land and it is up to us to take a stand because our government is failing to do so.
Jordan, an unstable, corrupt “tyrant state” (according to none other than its recently imprisoned crown prince) that narrowly avoided a bloody coup just this week wants to condemn Israelis for the unpardonable sin of peacefully visiting the Temple Mount?
Who is their comedy writer?
Coalescing a coalition
There is one good thing in keeping Ehud Olmert as a columnist who continually reiterates with his one-track mind his hatred for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
If Olmert is for something, then we know it is wrong and we shouldn’t do it. The headline for his article “Make Arabs partners in the cabinet.” (April 2 – although it should really be on April Fool’s day) gives us clarity that if he thinks it is a good idea, it must be something we should run away from.
RABBI YEHUDA LAVE
I agree with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – the electorate gave his party the largest support, 30 seats, almost twice as many as the next party, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid with 17 seats. Therefore Bibi should be asked to form the next government.
Also, the electorate voted mainly for right-wing parties, so they should naturally form a stable coalition: Naftali Bennett’s Yamina (7), Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope (6), UTJ (7), Shas (9) and Religious Zionists (6), making a total of 65 seats – a clear majority and a stable government. These minor characters, Bennett and Sa’ar, who are busy telling Bibi not to put his own interests before those of the country should heed their own words.
They should put the country before their own desires to replace Bibi and form a stable coalition with him. The electorate will never forgive them if it is forced into yet another election.