Anti-Is­rael rhetoric from the State Depart­ment

Rem­i­nis­cent of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pos­ture, it raises dis­turb­ing new alarms

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Ziva Dahl Ziva Dahl is a se­nior fel­low with the Haym Salomon Center.

Sec­re­tary Rex Tiller­son’s State Depart­ment’s re­cently-pub­lished “Coun­try Re­ports on Ter­ror­ism 2016” is highly crit­i­cal of Is­rael. Its anti-Is­rael rhetoric is as hos­tile as that of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion. Is that what Pres­i­dent Trump thinks, or does Mr. Tiller­son have his own Mid­dle East agenda?

In the re­port, Tiller­son white­washes Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity in­cite­ment of ter­ror and fi­nan­cial sup­port for ter­ror­ists and blames the Jewish state it­self for vi­o­lence against Is­raeli civil­ians and the ab­sence of peace. By at­tribut­ing Pales­tinian ter­ror­ism to a “lack of hope” that a Pales­tinian state will ma­te­ri­al­ize, the State Depart­ment turns Is­raeli vic­tims into per­pe­tra­tors and Pales­tinian per­pe­tra­tors into vic­tims.

The 2016 re­port falsely as­serts that “ex­plicit calls for vi­o­lence against Is­raelis… are rare and the lead­er­ship does not gen­er­ally tol­er­ate it.” This flies in the face of re­al­ity.

Since late 2015, PA calls for vi­o­lence have re­sulted in 177 stab­bings, 144 shoot­ings and 58 ve­hic­u­lar at­tacks against Is­raelis, killing 49 peo­ple, in­clud­ing Amer­i­can war vet­eran Tay­lor Force, and in­jur­ing more than 700.

The PA brain­washes its pop­u­la­tion with never-end­ing anti-Is­rael, anti-Semitic in­cite­ment and hero-wor­ship of ter­ror­ists on tele­vi­sion, in news­pa­pers, in mosques, in mu­sic, in street-nam­ing cer­e­monies, in schools, sum­mer camps and more.

In July, the PA in­cited the current vi­o­lence re­gard­ing the Al-Aqsa Mosque with calls for “Rage for the Al-Aqsa Mosque!” PA Pres­i­dent Ab­bas ex­horted his peo­ple to keep ri­ot­ing even when Is­rael re­moved the metal de­tec­tors and se­cu­rity cam­eras that it had placed at the Tem­ple Mount en­trances to pre­vent fu­ture in­ci­dents like the mur­der of two Is­raeli Druze guards by three Pales­tinian ji­hadists.

The PA en­cour­aged a 19 year-old to slaugh­ter three in­no­cent Is­raeli civil­ians in their home by re­peat­edly pub­li­ciz­ing Mr. Ab­bas’ 2015 state­ment de­scrib­ing Jews on the Tem­ple Mount as “filth,” promis­ing that Al­lah will re­ward those who “will not al­low” Jews to “de­file” Jerusalem and calling for vi­o­lence say­ing, “We bless ev­ery drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem… blood spilled for Al­lah.”

Shock­ingly, Mr. Tiller­son’s re­port eu­phemisti­cally de­scribes the PA’s pay-for-slay pro­gram that in­cen­tivizes Pales­tini­ans to kill Jews, as pro­vid­ing “fi­nan­cial pack­ages to Pales­tinian se­cu­rity pris­on­ers . . . to rein­te­grate them into so­ci­ety.” In 2017 the PA bud­geted to pay its peo­ple $345 mil­lion, half of its for­eign aid, for mur­der­ing and maim­ing Is­raelis. Ter­ror­ists and their fam­i­lies are paid re­wards far out­strip­ping wages paid to Pales­tinian pro­fes­sion­als.

The back­lash came quickly. On July 20, House Repub­li­can Peter Roskham wrote to Mr. Tiller­son, re­buk­ing him for wrongly por­tray­ing the PA as in­no­cent peace­mak­ers, re­mind­ing the sec­re­tary that the PA lead­er­ship “in­cites, re­wards, and, in some cases, car­ries out ter­ror­ist at­tacks against in­no­cent Is­raelis” and is the “root cause” of ter­ror­ism against Is­rael. In re­sponse to this and other crit­i­cism, a spokesman in­di­cated that the depart­ment stands by its re­port.

This State Depart­ment doc­u­ment re­sem­bles anti-Is­rael UN ac­cu­sa­tions con­demned by U.N. Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley. It con­tra­dicts Pres­i­dent Trump’s out­spo­ken con­dem­na­tion of Pales­tinian in­cite­ment of ter­ror.

In Ryadh this June, Mr. Trump blamed ter­ror­ist at­tacks on ex­treme Is­lamic ide­olo­gies. At their May 23 meet­ing in Bethlehem, Mr. Trump, dis­gusted with Mr. Ab­bas’ pre­var­i­ca­tion about work­ing for peace, shouted at him that “the Is­raelis showed me your in­volve­ment in in­cite­ment” and warned that “peace can never take root in an en­vi­ron­ment where vi­o­lence is tol­er­ated, funded or re­warded,” re­fer­ring to the PA pay-for-slay pro­gram. Our pres­i­dent de­manded that the PA curb anti-Is­raeli in­cite­ment and cease pay­ing ter­ror­ists for mur­der­ing Is­raeli civil­ians say­ing, “You can talk about how much you want peace, but that’s empty [rhetoric].”

Mr. Tiller­son has de­parted from Mr. Trump’s po­si­tion. His re­port on Pales­tinian ter­ror­ism sends a con­tra­dic­tory mes­sage to U.S. al­lies and ene­mies. Mr. Tiller­son adds un­nec­es­sary pol­icy con­fu­sion in the com­bustible Mid­dle East where clar­ity is es­sen­tial to pre­vent blood­shed. Has Mr. Tiller­son gone rogue? Is his State Depart­ment in open war with the White House? Or is the State Depart­ment sim­ply dys­func­tional?

It’s been re­ported that Mr. Tiller­son thwarted ef­forts to re­move the many Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­pointees in key po­si­tions at State who are de­ter­mined to pre­serve the Obama agenda — not only on Is­rael, but also on Iran and other is­sues — and has left many staff po­si­tions un­filled. One of the re­sults is this flawed re­port on ter­ror­ism.

Will Chief of Staff John Kelly be tasked with stop­ping Mr. Tiller­son’s State Depart­ment pol­icy in­sub­or­di­na­tion? Will he de­mand that State ac­cu­rately mes­sage the White House agenda? If he fails to cre­ate order at Foggy Bottom, that chaos will se­verely jeop­ar­dize the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s for­eign pol­icy.


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