Whose Side Are They On?

The Trump administration scored notable foreign policy successes in the Middle East. Abandoning decades-long, futile attempts to secure a negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Trump came down foursquare on the side of our ally Israel. Among other things, the Trump administration helped to broker peace agreements between Israel and the Emirates and Bahrain.

Predictably, the Biden administration is committed to returning to a “peace” policy that consists mostly of trying to force Israel to make ever-greater concessions to the Palestinians in hopes of getting Mahmoud Abbas’s signature on a document. As part of this policy reversal, the administration has resumed aid to the Palestinians:

The Biden administration is quietly ramping up assistance to the Palestinians after former President Donald Trump cut off nearly all aid. Since taking office with a pledge to reverse many of Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian decisions, the administration has allocated nearly $100 million for the Palestinians, only a small portion of which has been publicized.

One of many Biden administration policies that the administration would just as soon voters not know about.

The administration announced last Thursday that it was giving $15 million to vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. A day later, with no public announcement, it notified Congress that it will give the Palestinians $75 million for economic support, to be used in part to regain their “trust and goodwill” after the Trump-era cuts.

How, exactly, will we benefit from such “trust and goodwill”?

The new assistance appears aimed at encouraging the Palestinians to return to negotiations with Israel, though there is no indication it will have that effect and Israel’s response has yet to be gauged.

In other words, the same old failed policy. But what about the fact that the Palestinian Authority continues to support terrorism?

Under U.S. law, the United States may not provide aid to the Palestinian Authority or fund projects it would benefit from as long as the authority pays stipends to the perpetrators and families of those convicted of anti-Israel or U.S. attacks. Such payments were one reason the Trump administration cut off aid. Although none of the assistance is to be provided to the Palestinian Authority, pro-Israel lawmakers, many of them Republicans, are likely to raise objections.

The administration assures us that this round of bribes payments is strictly legal. Perhaps. In any event, they are a terrible idea.

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