Hypocrisy Toward Israel on Display

With rising “tensions and violence between Israelis and Palestinians” and “a diplomatic stalemate,” America’s ambassador to Israel said the other day, “we must find ways of preserving the viability of a two-state solution for the future – Israel’s only path to avoid becoming a bi-national state, arrest negative trends that pull us away from the goal and prevent the terrible violence we have recently seen.”

Speaking in Tel Aviv, Dan Shapiro went on to criticize Israel’s settlements and then sharply condemned its West Bank policy: “Too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities, too much vigilantism goes unchecked and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.”

That’s rich. Israel’s not perfect, but the bigger double standard emanates from Washington, where a blind administration applies it to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – too critical of Israel, too forgiving of the Palestinian leadership.

Even Shapiro acknowledged the odd timing of his blast, for it came in the aftermath of brutal Palestinian terror. The day before he spoke, a Palestinian terrorist slashed Dafna Meir, a 38-year-old mother of six, to death at the entrance of her home in a West Bank settlement, in front of her children. A day later, as Meir’s funeral convoy was traveling to Jerusalem, another Palestinian terrorist slashed and badly wounded a 30-year-old pregnant woman who was shopping in the West Bank.

Shapiro noted the “vicious terror attacks of the last few days,” saying the U.S. “condemns unequivocally these barbaric acts of terrorism” and that we “offer support and sympathy to the bereaved families and the wounded … and are committed to do everything we can, and call on all others to do everything they can, to bring an end to the violence and help restore security and stability.”

His words, however, smacked of the obligatory, for they comprised a few paragraphs near the front of his remarks – just after acknowledging U.S. dignitaries on hand and turning to the nuclear deal with Iran that, he said, would make Israel safer. So, too, did his critical words about Palestinians and Arabs for inciting murder, supporting terror and withholding recognition of Israel, for they comprised a few paragraphs near the end – just before he shifted gears to talk about U.S. leadership around the world.

Shapiro said he raised those “tough questions” about Israel’s Palestinian and Arab adversaries “to rebut any claim that we are one-sided in putting tough questions only before Israel.” Fine, but if Shapiro has raised such questions in a high-profile speech to the Palestinian leadership in, say, Ramallah, I missed it.

In his speech, Shapiro pressured Israel to explain its plans for “resolving the conflict” and remaining a Jewish and democratic state or, if it can’t resolve it, “managing and stabilizing” it for now. He acknowledged the “enormous political challenges” in confronting these questions at a time of “increased security threats,” but he said they won’t get easier to address in the future.

True, but that’s due less to Israeli settlements and imperfect justice than to a reality that the Administration refuses to see – a Palestinian leadership and population with no real interest in permanent peace.

A day after Shapiro spoke, Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Al-Tirawi called a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, “just a phase” of an ongoing struggle. Palestine, he said, “stretches from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea,” adding, “I challenge any Palestinian to say that the map of Palestine is limited to the West Bank and Gaza.”

Think that Tirawi is an outlier, that Palestinians really want to live in peace with Israel? Think again.

When Samir Kuntar, who spent 29 years in an Israeli prison for killing a 4-year-old Israeli girl by smashing her head with a rifle, was killed in December, Tirawi wasn’t the only top Palestinian official to praise him. “Martyr Samir Kuntar is a Palestinian symbol,” Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Karake said. “We will not forget your heroic acts and sacrifice, and we will talk about you with all future generations.” Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki called him a “national hero, one of the outstanding knights, senior among prisoners, Martyr of the Lebanese resistance and Martyr of Palestine.”

Palestinians honored Kuntar in a ceremony in Ramallah that was attended by Fatah officials. In the hall were pictures of, among others, Hasan Nasrallah, who runs the terrorist group Hezbollah, which is dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

A smug Washington that accuses Israel of a double standard would do well to look in the mirror on occasion.

Lawrence J. Haas, senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, is author of the forthcoming book Harry and Arthur: Truman, Vandenberg, and the Partnership That Created the Free World.


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