TEL AVIV — In recognizing Israel’s right to Jerusalem and reversing the antagonistic, anti-Israel ideology and actions of his predecessor, President Trump has already proven himself to be one of the greatest friends that Israel ever had in the White House. Still, even the closest of friends makes the occasional blunder.
The U.S. President seems to have done so when he overlooked Israel’s persistent, some might even argue counterintuitive attempts to make peace with an intransient, extremist Palestinian Authority during an interview published on Sunday with the Israel Hayom newspaper.
Trump stated that he is “not necessarily sure” that Israel is looking to make peace. He made the astonishing statement just after saying he doesn’t believe the Palestinians are seeking peace, thus, perhaps unintentionally, drawing an equivalence between a democracy and beacon of morality that has engaged in countless good faith peace talks, and a terrorist-supporting entity that incites against Israel, celebrates Jew killers, refuses to recognize the existence of the Jewish state and pays monthly stipends to the murderers of Israelis.
Trump responded thusly when asked to comment on reports of a forthcoming U.S.-brokered peace plan:
We are going to see what goes on. Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace, they are not looking to make peace. And I am not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace. So we are just going to have to see what happens.
Trump might want to review the extraordinary lengths to which Israel has gone in order to give “peace” a chance. Israel offered the Palestinians a state with territory in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem at Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001, the Annapolis Conference in 2007, 2008, and during U.S.-brokered talks in 2013 and 2014. Israel has since been willing to restart talks at any time.
According to some reports, Israel went so far as to offer the Palestinians control of the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, in at least two separate, desperate bids to make peace.
In each of these cases, without any exception, the Palestinian Authority rejected Israel’s offer of a state and bolted the negotiations. In most cases, they countered statehood offers with major escalations in violence, including infamously launching the deadly Second Intifada, or terrorist war, in response to the Camp David peace talks.
Netanyahu himself arguably jeopardized Israeli national security in a failed bid to get PA President Mahmoud Abbas to the negotiating table. He released Palestinian prisoners, including terrorists, in a so-called gesture to jumpstart talks with Abbas. This despite the well-known high rate of released Palestinian terrorists returning to their murderous ways and killing more Israelis. Few noted that the very need to release terrorists as a “gesture” to entice the PA into talks itself unmasks that same PA as the terrorist-promoting organization that it is. Netanyahu didn’t stop there. He also imposed a freeze on settlement activity – meaning Jews building in historic Jewish communities in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem – as another gesture toward Abbas. The PA still didn’t budge.
At this point, instead of repeating the same error over and over again, the U.S. and Israel might do well to reconsider the concept of what they are labeling as “peace.” The term essentially refers to Israel offering a state to the PA in hopes the Palestinians will not only accept the offer, but live side-by-side in peace with the Jewish state. That very premise is myopic, dangerous and fundamentally flawed.
There is no significant evidence to suggest that a Palestinian state run by a Palestinian leadership that openly supports terrorism and has been flirting with a unity deal with Hamas would be moderate or a force against regional radicalism. There is overwhelming evidence to support the charge that a future Palestinian state would encourage terrorism, remain in a permanent state of war with Israel and work to destabilize the region.
However, if we continue to insist on referring to Israeli territorial concessions to the anti-Semitic PA as “peace,” Israel has repeatedly proven it is willing to go out on a limb, to put in mildly, to make such accommodations.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.