Mike Pence Group Calls on Biden Admin to Release Records Detailing ‘Strong Opposition’ to Jewish West Bank Communities

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Former Vice President Mike Pence’s advocacy organization has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the State Department for documents pertaining to the Biden administration’s “strong opposition” to Jewish communities in the West Bank.

According to State Department spokesperson Ned Price, building Jewish homes in the West Bank was “completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm, and it damages the prospects for a two-state solution” between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Biden administration also made it clear that Israel was aware of its view that Jerusalem should “refrain from actions that could be seen as ‘provocative’ and undermine efforts to achieve” peace.

Pence’s 501(c)(4), Advancing American Freedom, has submitted a FOIA request demanding records that “would likely contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government.”

“[T] he government activity at issue is the State Department’s establishment of a geopolitical policy position, and the consequent conveyance of said policy to Israel, a highly relevant and highly important geopolitical ally. Disclosure of the requested records is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the government activity at issue,” Paul Teller, AAF’s executive director, wrote in the request.

The request calls for the transfer of all records informing the State Department’s definition of Israeli actions which would be deemed “provocative,” or that may damage a future peace settlement.

AAF’s stated mission includes “defending the successful policies of previous years that yielded unprecedented prosperity at home and restored America’s strength abroad, while elevating traditional American values.”

The group’s Freedom Agenda, released earlier this year, calls for “stand with Israel… help[ing] achieve peace, prosperity, and a brighter future for Israel and the Palestinian people.”

There are approximately half a million Jewish Israelis living in nearly 300 settlements in what is known as Area C of the West Bank.

Under the Trump administration, the U.S. said it no longer views Israeli settlements as a violation of international law – breaking with decades of U.S. policy. Former Secretary of State also conceded that the West Bank, known also by its biblical name of Judea and Samaria, was the “rightful homeland for the people of Israel.”

The State Department under Trump ceased using the nomenclature “Israel and The Occupied Territories” and instead began referring to the region as “Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza.”

Other than shunning the term “Occupied Territories,” (instead, recognizing them as “disputed,”) the strategically placed comma after the West Bank and Gaza separates the two areas and thus allows for more than one solution to the conflict.

Lumping them as one entity, as was the case before and as is still the case with the E.U. and the U.N., does not allow for any distinction between the Palestinian Authority-ruled West Bank, which has officially recognized Israel, and the Gaza Strip, ruled by the Hamas terror group, which does not recognize Israel and has vowed its destruction.

The Trump administration cut aid to the Palestinians over its boycott of the U.S. as well as its so-called pay-for-slay scheme, paying salaries to Palestinian terrorists and their families. One of the first moves that the Biden administration did was to resume aid in a bid to restore what it called “credible engagement” with the Palestinians and work towards resurrecting the long-dead two-state solution.

 

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