As I write this article I remember vividly watching the signing of the Oslo Accords with rapt attention 25 years ago on Sep. 13, 1993. The euphoria, – finally after 50 years of Israel’s Independence, there was a real possibility of peace. Unfortunately, over these past 25 years, that euphoria has gradually faded and been replaced with a realization that under current Palestinian leadership there is no chance of peace. Up until now, the Palestinians were treated like a misbehaving child who was always given another chance. They never had to accept the reality of their situation or the consequences of their actions.
During the presidency of Clinton, Bush and the Obama administration, as well as the Israeli administrations of Prime Ministers Rabin, Peres, Barak, Sharon, Olmert, and even most of Netanyahu, it seemed that the Americans or Israelis would offer the Palestinians a way to Peace, and the Palestinians would say “no” with no counteroffer. Shortly afterward the Palestinians would receive a better offer, which they would also not accept. This cycle went on for almost 25 years.
Now things have changed. Under the Trump and current Netanyahu administration, there is a concerted effort to make sure that there are serious consequences for not pursuing Peace. If a party refuses to negotiate there will be a reaction. At the same time, there is a realization that there are certain issues that are not the core of the problem and should not be negotiated. When the Trump administration came into office the president met with Abbas twice, once in DC and once in Bethlehem. The Palestinians were invited to participate in Peace talks. They refused even to ‘talk”! This was unacceptable to the administration, so they began to take unilateral actions in response. Initially, the US and Israel responded with changes on minor issues, but as time elapsed and the Palestinians continued to refuse to participate, they initiated changes to major issues. Here are just some of the administration’s responses.
- In May 2017 the Palestinians announced they were going to take Israeli officials to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Human Rights violations. They were warned if they took this action the US would pull out of the ICC. As of today the US and 70 other countries have pulled out of the ICC.
- In Oct. 2017 the US pulled out of UNESCO after the Palestinian’s had the Western Wall, the tomb of the Patriarchs and other Jewish holy places declared Muslim sights.
- In Dec 2017 the US announced that the Embassy would move to Jerusalem within the 1948 armistice lines not prejudging where the final borders will be established.
- In June 2018 the US pulled out of the UN Human Rights Commission because of their constant anti-Israel bias.
- In June 2018 the US Congress got involved with a flurry of laws and resolutions concerning payments to terrorists, ”The Taylor Force Act”, education materials, PA incitement to violence, anti-boycott, and a host of additional legislation. In total this Congress has introduced 163 bills concerning support for Israel in some manner.
- In August 2018 the US announced they were reducing aid to the Palestinian authority.
- Later in August 2018 the US announced they were eliminating aid to UNRWA.
- In Sep 2018 Senator Lankford introduced legislation defining that a Palestinian refugee is one who was an immigrant in 1948 and not his or her decedents.
- Finally the US required the Palestinian Authority to close their Washington DC office and that their representatives leave the US immediately.
Both the US and Israel have now informed the Palestinians that there will be consequences to their actions and have acted accordingly. They can no longer expect the US to provide funding to them when these funds are misused to reward terrorist for murdering Jews. They can no longer go to International organizations at the UN or elsewhere and defame, distort and delegitimize Israel in violation of the Oslo accords without consequences. They can no longer refuse to participate in Peace talks or boycott meetings with US officials and expect to be treated as Peacemakers. Maybe when the realization that their actions really do have consequences we once again can hope that Peace is possible.
The Congressional Breakfast Club of To Protect Our Heritage PAC works with members of Congress to educate them on issues regarding Israel. On October 15th, the Club is sponsoring its next breakfast with Rep. David Young who recently introduced a bill requiring the State Dept. to issue a report on whether Palestinian textbooks are promoting violence and intolerance. If you would like information on how you can participate in the breakfast club, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This article is the opinion of Marc Sommer only. Marc is a member of the AIPAC Illinois and National Council, founder of the Congressional Breakfast Club, and co-Chair of Protect Our Heritage PAC.