Commentary Magazine

Obama’s Hamas Betrayal

Obama’s Hamas Betrayal

The Fatah-Hamas unity pact, concluded in April, destroyed any hope that the U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace talks might succeed. But America’s reluctance to blame the Palestinians for torpedoing Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts provided a hint as to how Washington might treat the new Palestinian Authority government. U.S. law mandates that any Palestinian regime involving Hamas, which the administration lists as a terrorist group, trigger a cutoff of American aid. But at the beginning of June, the Obama administration announced that it would work with the new government in spite of Hamas’s involvement.

America has always maintained that Palestinians must renounce terror in order to be recognized. So this decision, possibly prompted by secret (and illegal) talks between Washington and the Gaza-based Islamists, is a repudiation of decades of American policy. The administration claims that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has merely appointed technocrats who are not technically members of Hamas. But these front men are fooling no one. The new PA is run by the kleptocrats of Fatah and their new Hamas allies. That means that U.S. taxpayer dollars will flow to corrupt Fatah operatives who oppose peace as well as to Hamas killers who have not even gone through the motions of renouncing their party’s charter, which calls for Israel’s destruction.

Though continued U.S. support for the Palestinians will be defended as giving peace a chance, it does just the opposite. By refusing either to pressure the Palestinians to make even symbolic concessions for the sake of peace or to renounce ties to terrorists, the U.S. is guaranteeing that the PA will never do what is necessary to conclude an agreement with Israel.

The Pope’s Problematic Visit

Pope Francis has rightly earned the world’s admiration for his humble, down-to-earth persona and his genuine concern for the poor. But he did himself no favors by allowing his May visit to the Middle East to be used as a political weapon in the Israel–Palestinian conflict. The signature moment of his trip came when he made an unscheduled visit to the security barrier separating the Arab areas around Bethlehem from Israeli targets. The pope’s prayers are always welcome, but by posing in front of a section of the fence bearing Arabic and English graffiti that maligned Israel as an apartheid state, he lent the immense prestige of his position to these false smears.

The fence was not built by Israeli colonialism but by Palestinian terrorism. Its only purpose is to keep Arab suicide bombers from continuing the campaign that has taken the lives of hundreds of Jews. The pope’s hastily arranged visit the following day to a terrorist-victim memorial could not undo the damage. This stunt may have stemmed more from the Vatican’s desire to ingratiate itself with the Arab and Muslim world than from any malice on the part of the pope, but the result is damaging all the same. Coming at a time when Christians in the Middle East are increasingly under siege from Islamists and their only refuge is in democratic Israel, the pope’s visit sent the wrong message to the region.

Will Ongoing Talks Seal Iran Appeasement?

With time running out on the new U.S.–Iran nuclear negotiations, Americans were stymied once again in their efforts at the P5+1 talks. In May, despite numerous concessions from the West, the Iranians rejected (yet another) weak accord that would, at best, only delay them in building a nuclear weapon. It is conceivable that continued talks between the two governments could pave the way for a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear quest. But, as with such previous U.S. efforts, American concessions seem to be little more than a tool by which the Obama administration can evade accountability for its retreat from the president’s promise to eliminate Iran’s deadly threat to the region and the world.

Anti-Jewish Terror in Belgium

The terror attack at a Jewish Museum in Brussels at the end of May was more proof of the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe. The attack—which took the lives of four, including two Israelis—was allegedly carried out by a French national who had previously travelled to Syria to fight alongside jihadi rebels. This current wave of Jew-hatred is being fueled by Islamist propaganda embraced by immigrants from Muslim countries and by anti-Israel incitement directed at European elites. As attacks on Jews and Jewish rights become more frequent, Europe is demonstrating that its historic anti-Semitism is not confined to the history of the 20th century.

Spanish Hoops and Hatred

When a sports team loses a big game, its fans generally vent their spleen at the club’s management or at players that failed to come through in the clutch. But when the Spanish team Real Madrid lost the finals of the European Basketball Championship to Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv in May, dismayed fans found a far uglier way to vent: anti-Semitic tweets. The massive wave of hatred on Spanish social media after the Israeli team’s victory in the big game spoke volumes about hostility to Jews in today’s Europe. That it happened in a country that earlier this year invited descendants of those Jews who were expelled in 1492 to return and claim Spanish citizenship only adds a sad irony to the outrageous display of anti-Semitism.

About the Author

Jonathan Tobin is senior online editor of COMMENTARY.

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