Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki has complained that the Biden administration has done little for the Palestinians. He is quite wrong; the Bidenites have done a great deal for them, even at the cost of ignoring American law. More on Al-Malki’s misperception can be found here: “PA foreign minister says Biden administration ‘weak,’ lacks courage in Middle East,” Times of Israel, August 3, 2023:
The Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister on Thursday attacked the Biden administration as weak and passive in the Middle East, as violence between Israel and the Palestinians surges to its highest levels in nearly two decades.
The comments by Riyad al-Malki reflected the Palestinian frustration with US President Joe Biden, who initially won plaudits from the Palestinians when he rejected the Trump administration’s unabashedly pro-Israel stance. But Biden so far has done little to follow through on that vision.
“I’m frustrated,” Malki told members of the Foreign Press Association, an organization representing international media outlets in Israel and the Palestinian territories. “It seemed that [Biden] wanted to change all policies Trump has taken, but not when it comes to Palestine.”
Pressured by Israel’s government, increasingly isolated in the Arab world and running out of money, the PA is confronting what analysts say could be its greatest threat to its existence.
What new “pressure” has Israel put on the PA? When Israeli civilians are murdered by terrorists, the IDF, as always, goes after the terrorists, as in its July raid on the Jenin camp to kill or capture PIJ fighters and destroy their hidden caches of weapons. The PA should be pleased that the IDF is weakening its terrorist rivals, the PIJ and Hamas. Nothing new there. Nor is there anything new in the visit by Itamar Ben Gvir to the Temple Mount, where he scrupulously observed the status quo: he did not say, openly or silently, any prayers; he did not bring with him Jewish prayerbooks, shawls, or tefillin; in his 15-minute visit, he did not come near Al-Aqsa Mosque, but followed the well-worn path taken by Jewish visitors. Nothing new, either, with Israel’s policy of withholding from the import taxes it collects for transfer to the PA, an amount equal to that spent by the PA on its “Pay-For-Slay” program. If the PA is “increasingly isolated in the Arab world,” this is not the result of a sinister Israeli plot. The other Arabs are becoming tired of the financial support the PA consistently demands of them; those Arab states that have joined the Abraham Accords did so because they stood to gain from normalizing ties with the Jewish state, in trade, tourism, and technology. No longer will they allow the PA to prevent them from furthering their national self-interest.
The PA’s claim to be running out of money is its own fault. First, the PA can cease to fund its “Pay-For-Slay” program, which would instantly lead Israel to transfer about $330 million a year that it is currently withholding. Second, the PA could revise its schoolbooks, removing all of the antisemitic passages that have caused the EU countries, tired of the PA’s constantly broken promises to “clean up” those books, to cut back — though not as first hoped, to eliminate — aid to the PA. And far from turning its back on the PA, since Biden came into office, his administration has provided more than a half-billion dollars to Ramallah — even though that has meant violating the Taylor Force Act.
Malki said the Biden administration has been mealy-mouthed about the expansion of Jewish settlements and the escalation of Israeli military raids in the West Bank that have killed a growing number of Palestinians….
The Bidenites have made clear that they are opposed to Israel building new, or expanding existing, settlements. What else are they supposed to do? They can’t cut aid to Israel; Congress would be in an uproar. The 2024 political campaign has already begun.The military raids conducted by Israel against terrorists in the West Bank are not acts of aggression but, rather, a response to aggression, as even the Bidenites recognize. Hence their refusal to condemn Israel.
Malki also lashed out at Biden’s failure to reverse several measures taken by the Trump administration that Palestinians saw as undermining their quest for statehood.
“We have a weak [US] administration when it comes to Palestine,” he said.
The US has not reopened its consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, which was closed under former US president Donald Trump. The PA’s diplomatic mission in Washington, also closed under Trump, remains shuttered. The US State Department also hasn’t rescinded a Trump administration decision to grant legitimacy to Israeli settlements or reversed other policies that broke with long-standing US positions on Jerusalem….
When he campaigned for President, Joe Biden promised to reopen the “consulate to the Palestinians” in Jerusalem that Trump had closed. But once he was President, he apparently discovered that he could not reopen the consulate without obtaining Israel’s permission — something the Israeli government was not prepared to give. The Bidenites learned about the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which requires the “receiving state” to give its permission for any consulate to be opened or, as in this case, reopened. Joe Biden he made a promise that according to international law, he could not fulfill. As for the reopening of the PLO office in Washington, which Biden had also promised, it appears that the administration is no longer prepared to expend the political capital such a move would require; it knows how deeply unpopular such a move would be in Congress, save among the dozen members of The Squad.
“If peace talks happen in the future, which I doubt, why not include China?” Malki said. “China is giving signals they want to help.”…
If the PA decides to involve China as an alternative diplomatic player to the U.S. in its possible peace negotiations with Israel, this will alienate the Americans, possibly leading to a cut in American aid. Such a move would also make Israel even more resistant to any further negotiations, for the Israelis are well aware that China is not an honest broker.
Malki expressed hope that Saudi Arabia wouldn’t follow suit in brokering a deal that would boost Israel’s standing in unprecedented ways.
“I hope that the Saudis… will not yield to any kind of pressure or intimidation coming from the Biden administration,” he said.
It is not the Bidenites who are pressuring Saudi Arabia to join the Abraham Accords. It’s the Saudis who are pressuring the administration to make enormous concessions to it in exchange for the Kingdom agreeing to normalize ties with Israel. There are three main demands: first, that the Americans offer the Kingdom an ironclad security pact; second, that the administration provide the Saudis with assistance in building a civilian nuclear program; third, that Washington allow the Saudis to buy advanced American weapons that hitherto have been denied. The Saudis also want a commitment by Israel not to build new, or expand existing, settlements, and to agree not to annex any territory in the West Bank. Al-Malki need not worry about the Saudis — they, not the Bidenites, are the ones driving a hard bargain.