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Trump's tragic mistake

 


http://www.carolineglick.com

By all accounts, U.S. President Donald Trump is a friend of the Jewish state. It is due to Trump’s heartfelt support for Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance that his meeting with PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas at the White House is most discouraging.

By meeting with Abbas, and committing himself to working toward achieving a peace deal between Abbas and his PLO and Israel, Trump undermines Israel.

He also undermines himself and his nation.

Israel is the most immediate casualty of Trump’s decision to embrace Abbas and the PLO, because the PLO is Israel’s enemy. Abbas is an anti-Semite. His doctoral dissertation, which he later published as a book, is a Holocaust denying screed.

Abbas engages in anti-Semitic incitement on a daily basis, both directly and indirectly. It was Abbas who called for his people to kill Jews claiming that we pollute Judaism’s most sacred site, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, with our “filthy feet.” The Palestinian media and school system which he controls with an iron fist both regularly portray Jews as evil monsters, deserving of physical annihilation.

Abbas’s PLO and his Palestinian Authority engage as a general practice in glorifying terrorist murderers. As has been widely reported in recent weeks, his PA and PLO also incentivize and underwrite terrorism to the tune of $300 million a year, which is paid, in accordance with PA law, to convicted terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons and their families.

And that’s just the money we know about.

In welcoming Abbas to the White House, Trump chose to ignore all of this in the interest of fostering a peace deal between Israel and the PLO.

There are three problems with this goal. First, the peace process between Israel and the PLO is predicated on the notion that the U.S. must pressure Israel to make massive concessions to the PLO. So simply by engaging in a negotiating process with the PLO, Trump has adopted an antagonistic position toward Israel.

The second problem is that Abbas himself has proven, repeatedly, that he will never support a peace deal with Israel. Abbas opposed Israel’s peace offer at Camp David in 2000. He rejected then-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s peace offer in 2008. He rejected then-president Barack Obama’s peace offer in 2013. Since then, Abbas made no sign of moderating his position.

The third problem with Trump’s decision to engage in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is that any hypothetical deal a hypothetical Palestinian leader would accept, would endanger Israel’s very existence. So in the unlikely event that he reaches “the deal,” his achievement will imperil Israel, rather than protect it.

Again, Israel isn’t the only party harmed by Trump’s decision to embrace the Palestinian dictator whose legal term of office ended eight years ago.

Trump himself is harmed by his move.

Trump’s move is self-destructive for two reasons. First, he is setting himself up for failure. By positioning himself in the middle of a diplomatic initiative that will fail, he is guaranteeing that he will fail.

Trump’s move also endangers the support of one of his key constituencies. Evangelical Christians in the U.S. voted overwhelmingly for Trump in both the Republican primaries and in the general election. They rallied to his side due to Trump’s pledge to support Israel. By initiating a diplomatic process that pits his administration against Israel, Trump places that support in jeopardy.

Then there is the U.S. itself.

Trump’s engagement with the PLO harms U.S. core interests. First there is the issue of coalition building.The U.S.’s chief challenge in the Middle East today is to form a coalition of states and actors that can help it stem Iran’s rise as a nuclear-armed, terrorism-sponsoring regional power. The members of such a coalition are clear.

Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE stand united today in their opposition to Iran, its nuclear program, its support for Sunni and Shi’ite jihadists and terrorist groups, and its moves to establish an empire of vassals that spans westward through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, southward to Yemen and eastward through Afghanistan.

The members of Iran’s coalition include its Lebanese foreign legion Hezbollah, the Assad regime, the Shi’ite militias in Iraq, Hamas, other Sunni terrorist groups aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and Yemen’s Houthis.

By embracing the PLO, rather than build and strengthen the anti-Iranian alliance of Israel and the anti-Iranian, anti-Muslim-Brotherhood Arab states, Trump is tearing that alliance apart. In its place he is cobbling together an anti-Israel alliance comprised of Iran’s allies in Qatar and to a degree in Turkey, the PLO, and at least passively, Hamas. This anti-Israel alliance is supported, grudgingly, by the Saudis, Egyptians and others who cannot afford to be seen abandoning the Palestinians.

In other words, by embracing the PLO, Trump is strengthening Iran and its supporters at the expense of Israel, the U.S.-aligned Sunni states and the U.S. itself.

Moreover, by embracing the PLO Trump is directly undermining the U.S.’s goal of defeating terrorism in two key ways.

First, Trump’s move undermines congressional efforts to block further U.S. funding of Palestinian terrorism. Today, the Taylor Force Act, which enjoys massive support in both houses of Congress, is making its way through Congress. The act will block U.S. funding of the PA due to its payments to terrorists and their families.

To embrace Abbas, Trump will either have to veto the Taylor Force Act and other congressional initiatives or insist on receiving a presidential waiver for implementing them. Such waivers will ensure that U.S. taxpayers will continue to incentivize Palestinian terrorism against Israel.

The second way Trump’s decision to embrace the PLO harms the U.S.’s efforts to fight terrorism became clear this week with Hamas’s new PR document. Hamas’s new policy document departs not one iota from the Muslim Brotherhood group’s devotion to the goal of destroying Israel.

In adopting its new document, which calls for Israel to withdraw, first and foremost, from Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, Hamas has adopted the PLO’s wildly successful strategy of engaging in a dual campaign against Israel, waging terrorist war against Israel on the one hand while winning the support of the West on the other.

Hamas’s document is a restatement of the PLO’s 1974 phased plan for destroying Israel. The PLO’s plan involves accepting limited territorial gains from Israel. Under the phased plan, the PLO adopted the ruse that it is interested in territorial compromise with Israel, in order to advance its actual goal of destroying Israel piece by piece.

Trump’s decision to become the fourth U.S. president to welcome a PLO chief to the White House, and his apparent decision to continue funding the terrorist group are new evidence of the wild success of the PLO’s strategy.

Just as the Hamas document neither contradicts nor abrogates its genocidal pledge to eradicate Israel boldly asserted in its covenant, so the PLO’s phased plan and its subsequent embrace of the “peace process” neither contradicted nor superseded its founding charter that calls for Israel’s destruction. PLO leaders simply stopped discussing their founding documents in their dealings with gullible Westerners keen to win peace prizes.

In a similar fashion, the Western media received the news of Hamas’s PR stunt with respect and interest. Given the reception, Hamas has every reason to expect that in due time, its transparent ruse will open the doors of the chanceries of Europe and beyond to its terror masters.

In other words, by embracing Abbas and the PLO on Wednesday, Trump empowered Hamas.

There is no upside to Trump’s move. It will not bring peace.

It will not strengthen Israel. It will not help the U.S. to build a coalition to defeat Iran and its vassals. It does not advance the U.S. war on terror. It empowers terrorists to kill Israelis and others by using U.S. tax revenues to fund the PA. And it harms Trump by alienating a key constituency and undermining his relations with Congress.

It is hard to see how Trump, now committed to this dangerous folly, can walk away from it. But to diminish the damage, a way must be found, quickly.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Caroline Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC, the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post and a contributor to the Jewish World Review.

 

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