President Trump is off confronting the evils of global warming in Davos, Switzerland. Included in the schedule was a “bilateral meeting,” which is Davos-speak for “photo op,” with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Since Trump’s inauguration, there has been a sea-change in the whole Israel-Palestine issue. Under pressure from Iranian expansionism, the Arab world has mostly washed their hands of the situation. The exception is Jordan which has a very large population of unassimilated Palestinian refugees from 1948, 1953, and 1967. History has shown that when the Palestinians get angry at Israel they aren’t very careful about who they strike out at. Jordan, now a frontline state in stopping Iranian imperialism, doesn’t want internal unrest that can be exploited. The United States has also changed policies. We’ve allowed Israel to increase the housing density in current settlements and, critically, we’ve recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and our embassy will move there sometime in 2019.
Most recently, the United States has decided to withhold over half of the money it would ordinarily contribute to support the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) which teaches terrorism and foments Antisemitism in the area “governed” by the Palestinian Authority and in Palestinian refugee camps.
During press appearance meeting with Netanyahu, Trump accuses Palestinians of being disrespectful by not meeting with VP Pence.
"When they disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great VP to see them… [aid] is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace" pic.twitter.com/tKLTmbhyKx
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 25, 2018
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Which was essentially a “yes,” that’s right. But we ended up getting a lot of votes that we were — I would say, virtually, we were going to get none. And we give billions of dollars away every year to countries, and in many cases, those countries don’t even support us. They don’t support the United States.
Israel has always supported the United States. So what I did with Jerusalem was my honor. And hopefully, we can do something with peace. I would love to see it.
You know, if you look back at the various peace proposals — and they are endless — and I spoke to some of the people involved, and I said, “Did you ever talk about the vast amounts of funds, money that we give to the Palestinians?” We give, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars. And they said, “We never talk.” Well, we do talk about it.
And when they disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great Vice President to see them — and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support — tremendous numbers; numbers that nobody understands. That money is on the table, and that money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace. Because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace. And they’re going to have to want to make peace too, or we’re going to have nothing to do with it any longer.
First, imagine the sudden rush for the restrooms in Foggy Bottom when State Department heard this for the first time. (I’m told by someone I trust that this might have been developed yesterday at a meeting between Trump and Mike Pence.) By now they’ve probably learned to wear brown trousers to work.
The disrespect to Mike Pence he refers to is the refusal of Abbas to meet with Pence when Pence was in the region in December. And Abbas has taken that disrespect one step further in a statement I’m pretty sure Trump had not heard of when he spoke with Netanyahu.
Breaking: Palestinians reject new Trump criticism, won't meet US administration until they withdraw recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital
"Not meeting your oppressor is not a sign of disrespect; it is a sign of self-respect," top official Hanan Ashrawi tells me @afp
— Joe (@joedyke) January 25, 2018
I think both points Trump made are on target. It makes zero sense for us to fund the terrorist kleptocracy that is the Palestinian Authority unless they show some interest in moving towards a final settlement with Israel. This rope-a-dope they have been playing with us since the Carter administration has to end. A process is only a process if it leads to something. The current “peace process” is going nowhere. The second issue of respect is also paramount. When I first read that Abbas was snubbing Pence, my thoughts turned to this decidedly NSFW clip from Pulp Fiction.
Respect is a currency in most parts of the world. Giving the Palestinians billions of dollars and having them talk smack about you and refuse to meet your vice president is a sign that they neither respect nor fear you. For far too long we’ve been trying to substitute “like” for “respect” in international affairs and we seem totally averse to the idea of “fear.” I’ve always been partial to the Latin “Oderint dum metuant.” Let them hate us so long as they fear us.
I’m guessing Abbas’s top priority right now is taking possession of his $50 million private jet before the gravy train dries up.