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One thought kept going through my mind as I read the report titled “US to Israel: No Palestinian punitive home razing, we won’t let this drop”: “Americans can’t be that stupid!” The article outlined the dispute between the U.S. and Israel caused by demolishing the home of one Shalabi, an American passport–holder who “had been indicted for killing Yehuda Guetta, 19, in a drive-by shooting … at the beginning of May. He was also indicted for the attempted murder of two students, also injured in the shooting. … ‘The home of an entire family should not be demolished for the actions of one individual,’ the U.S. Embassy spokesperson said on Thursday.”‘
This sums up the Biden administration’s view of the Palestinians: terrorism is but “actions of one individual,” not representing the collective views of the body politic. Apparently, Palestinians are all in for coexistence, with a few bad apples acting out now and then on their own initiative, counter to the peaceful culture of the Palestinians.
So let’s start close to home — Mr. Shalabi’s Palestinian home, that is. His Palestinian wife (“he lived most of the time with his other wives and children in homes he owned in the United States”) is unrepentant: “She described him as a ‘resister’ and vowed to rebuild the house. ‘They want to demoralize us, but we are steadfast. This is the situation of the entire Palestinian people,’ she said.”
And where will the money come from? Undoubtedly, from the Palestinian “martyrs’ fund,” maintained by the presumably peaceful P.A., which issues “pay per slay” payments to families of terrorists to the tune of some $300 million per year.
And where does the presumably aberrant, off-the-wall idea that Israelis should be attacked come from? Many places, including the official P.A. propaganda that glorifies terrorists, naming schools and streets after them, and Palestinian school books funded by the E.U. and the U.N.
And how about Hamas in Gaza, which puts its energies into acquiring weapons and training of an army instead of focusing on peaceful pursuits like trades and agriculture?
Or Arab citizens of Israel who formed mobs and roamed the streets, hunting down Jewish Israelis during the latest mini-war with Gaza?
It looks as though destroying Israel is not just on the mind of a few weak-minded individuals like Mr. Shalabi (per Israeli NGO defending him — “Shalabi suffered from mental illness and had ‘repeatedly stated that he was motivated by suicidal thoughts.'” — and those who assisted him — “Five other Palestinians were also indicted for the obstruction of justice because they provided Shalabi with a hiding place during the initial manhunt.” The entire Palestinian body politic is animated by this idea; it seems to be a raison d’être for both Fatah and Hamas (as it was during the “intifada” of twenty years ago, launched in response to Israel’s peace offers, in which over a thousand Israelis were killed and thousands more maimed in suicide bombings), and for far too many Arab Israelis.
How did this fact evade the Middle East “experts” in the Biden administration, who keep intoning the standard line: “We believe it is critical for all parties to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution; this certainly includes the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes” — as if Palestinians are interested in a “negotiated two-state solution” rather than destruction of Israel? It is beyond me.
President Biden claims to have a longstanding relationship with Israel that started almost fifty years ago when he met Golda Meir on his trip to Israel in the early 1970s as a young senator. Fifty years is a lot of time to learn about any subject. Yet the Russians have a saying: “Live for a century, learn for a century -— you’ll still die a fool.” It is sad to observe the wisdom of the plain-speaking Russian folk being confirmed by an American — an American at the pinnacle of power, no less. Half a century of being involved in Middle East politics apparently has not made President Biden one bit wiser. He is still clueless about what animates the Palestinians.