President Donald Trump YELLED at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem last week, saying,
“You tricked me in DC! You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement [of violence against Israel],”
according to Israel’s Channel 2.
You might remember a few weeks back, the diplomatic Abbas came humbly to the White House, where he spoke of his peaceful people. He told President Trump:
“Mr. President, I affirm to you that we are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace. And we are endeavoring to bring about security, freedom and peace for our children to live like the other children in the world, along with the Israeli children in peace, freedom and security.”
But apparently, Trump was provided with evidence to the contrary. It’s that whole thing about words verses action. For instance, just this week the Palestinians named a women’s center after Dalal Mughrabi who, along with others from the PLO hijacked a bus full of Israelis and killed 38 civilians. The Norwegians, who provided funds for the Women’s Center demanded their money back and their logo be removed from the center. Good for them. Even the U.N., notoriously anti-Israel, pulled support for the project.
Furthermore, just reported today, we now know the extent of payments to terrorists and their families from the Palestinian government. No doubt, this is what caused President Trump to dress down the Palestinian leader.
“The Palestinian Authority has paid out some NIS 4 billion — or $1.12 billion — over the past four years to terrorists and their families, a former director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and ex-head of the army’s intelligence and research division told a top Knesset panel on Monday.”
No Respecter of Protocol
It is a HUGE breakage of protocol to rebuke a fellow head-of-state (though Abbas is technically not a head-of-state), especially in front of his team, but Trump is no respecter of protocol. Abbas, who had been treated gently by Obama, was shocked at the President’s tone and reportedly, there was stunned silence for several minutes.
Israeli Knesset Member Michael Oren is right when he says, if we created a Palestinian State tomorrow, it would fail the next day (or shortly thereafter). When you teach your children hate and incite them to violence, you are not preparing to govern a country. Instead of focusing on education, institutions, medical facilities, infrastructure or the economy, they are focusing on glorifying suicide bombers. The issue is not merely “Do Palestinians deserve a state?” but can they govern a state? And that’s in the secular area of the West Bank.
What about Hamas
Gaza has been overrun by Hamas, who makes the Palestinian Authority, corrupt as they are, look like angels in comparison. After they won the hearts of the people through building hospitals and schools, they staged a coup and have been running Gaza like Iran for a decade. Their citizens live in terror. (Haven’t seen that reported on CNN!)
There is very little focus on building a functioning state, but instead they rely on donations from state-sponsors of terror to pay their bills. They literally can’t even afford the electricity that Israel provides them, but rely on the P.A. to pay the bill! In this way, they can focus on the more important matters of building terror tunnels with stolen concrete meant to rebuild homes, stealing U.N. aid from their people and using women and children as human shields.
President Trump has no idea of the diplomatic quicksand that surrounds this issue—an unsolvable puzzle and that has sucked the life out of more than a few diplomats. You are dealing with a people that has been brooding for 70 years or more in a culture of religious and racial inspired hate. And if the President pressures Israel to give up land, then he will be at odds with the God who put him in power.
There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. (Joel 3:2)
My prayer is that President Trump will see clearly and understand that as Jeremiah said, a leopard cannot change his spots. I understand the temptation. He is a dealmaker. But you are not dealing with two equals. One, a thriving democracy—creating breakthroughs in medicine, technology and defense. Another, an archaic region that condones wife-beating, death without trial and teaches hate and murder on television shows for children.
It is difficult to be in the business of killing innocent women and children for decades, celebrating murder like a holiday and setting up suicide bombers as role models, and then to suddenly love life, govern in righteousness and show goodwill to your neighbors.
The Big Letdown
In Israel, we have gone from elation over the President’s bold promise recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the Embassy from Tel Aviv, to deep concern over a $350 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia and him suddenly becoming convinced that he can bring peace to Israel and her neighbors. Don’t get me wrong. Every Israeli wants peace. But we have learned time and time again, it takes two to tango.
The best hope for the Palestinians is a new leadership. But with Hamas on one side and the Palestinian Authority on the other, there is little hope that a genuinely peaceful movement could even survive to gain power.
Prime Minister is Sober
Prime Minister Netanyahu made it clear this week that he is concerned. Yes, Trump has displayed more love and friendship towards Israel than Obama ever did, but Bibi made it clear that the US has not given Israel carte blanch as seen by the reversal on moving the embassy. The excitement in Israel over a Trump administration has quickly met reality.
“It is true that relations are warm and that there is a great understanding of our position, but a blank check? That is far from reality.”
“You heard President Trump. He came here, did extremely important things and touched us deeply, but he also said that he believes that Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) wants peace, and that I want peace. He also said that he believes that it is possible and necessary to arrive at an agreement.
“There is one fundamental thing that I always say: The reason there is no agreement is because they (the Palestinians) educate their children, generation after generation, that there will not be a State of Israel in any borders whatsoever.”
Bibi clearly thinks that President Trump is mistaken to believe that Abbas wants real peace. Bill Clinton learned this the hard way with Arafat, when, after investing countless days in a peace deal, Arafat simply said no, took his marbles and went home to start the second intifada. Hopefully Trump will see sooner rather than later, and by the tone of his rebuke to Abbas, it is looking like sooner, that peace with Israel has never been what they’ve sought—rather the elimination of Israel.
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