So let's see if I have this right.
The Israeli government announces plan to build 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem and the Obama Administration springs into action sparing no effort to turn Israel into public enemy number one.
While still in Israel, Vice President Joe Biden said, "I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them."
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton read Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the riot act over the phone. State Department representative P.J. Crowley, speaking on behalf of Mrs. Clinton, described the announcement as "a deeply negative signal about Israel's approach to the bilateral relationship." Crowley went on to say that Israel "needed to demonstrate not just through words but through specific actions that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process."
Committed to this relationship? Did Bibi take Hillary out to the movies only to ask her to go Dutch? As if that wasn't enough, Clinton subsequently told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that the Israeli government's announcement was "an insult to the United States." To White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod, the proposal to build new housing in East Jerusalem wasn't merely an insult. Axelrod told Tom Brokaw on NBC's Meet the Press this past Sunday, "This was an affront, it was an insult but most importantly it undermined this very fragile effort to bring peace to that region."
Amazing as it would seem, by all appearances the Obama Administration is angrier at Israel for building houses for Jews than it is at Iran for building a nuclear weapon intended to kill Jews. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is undoubtedly grinning from ear to ear. And why shouldn't he? When he and the Mullahs crushed the streets protests after last year's fraudulent Iranian elections; President Obama proclaimed it wasn't America's place to meddle.
Meanwhile, Israel doesn't need to fire a single shot. It doesn't even need to break ground. All Israel had to do was to merely announce plans to build new housing in East Jerusalem and the full force of the Vice President, the Secretary of State and the President's top advisor came crashing down on the Jewish state like stone. All with President Obama's blessing.
The Obama Administration (with Secretary Clinton taking the lead) is now apparently demanding that Israel not only cancel the housing project in Ramat Shlomo but has apparently made additional demands. They include Israel making a "substantial gesture" towards the Palestinians. This "substantial gesture" could mean the release of Palestinian prisoners, the lifting of roadblocks and/or transferring a greater portion of the West Bank to Palestinian control. Secretary Clinton is further demanding that any future negotiations with the Palestinians, even indirect ones, discuss matters such as Jewish settlements and the status of Jerusalem. Given that the Obama Administration has asked so much of Israel it begs this question. What has it asked of the Palestinian Authority?
Not much and if it has it certainly hasn't done so publicly. After Vice President Biden's visit with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority saw fit to dedicate a town square to Dalal Mughrabi. So who is Dalal Mughrabi?
On March 11, 1978, Mughrabi and eleven others under her command hijacked a bus traveling on Israel's Coastal Highway near Tel Aviv and claimed the lives of 37 Israeli civilians including 12 children. An American photographer named Gail Rubin was also killed by Mughrabi's forces prior to the hijacking.
Fatah claimed responsibility for the attack and exactly 32 years later it was the Fatah led Palestinian Authority which saw fit to honor Mughrabi for her actions. General Adnan Damiri, chief of the Palestinian Authority's National Political Guidance Headquarters, addressed the gathering and stated, "This is part of our heritage that led to the peace process and agreements. There are not enough squares for all the martyrs we have." Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim, a top spokesman for President Abbas, said Mughrabi and her accomplices "all went to Paradise as they turned their blood into a bridge over which we pass on the way to our freedom, independence and national liberation from the burden of the occupation." The Palestinian Authority has in the past named schools and soccer tournaments after Mughrabi. Her actions have also been celebrated on Palestinian Authority state television.
To this day, it remains the deadliest terrorist attack on Israeli soil. For the Palestinian Authority to honor her would be akin to the Taliban in Afghanistan honoring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for the attacks of September 11, 2001. Yet no condemnation of the Palestinian Authority was forthcoming from Vice President Biden. Secretary of State Clinton didn't declare an honor bestowed upon a terrorist responsible for the murder of an American civilian to be an insult to the United States. Where, I ask, is the Hillary Clinton that stood side by side with Palestinian Media Watch to condemn the incitement of hatred and violence against Jews in Palestinian school textbooks? For his part, David Axelrod could not be moved to call the glorification of Mughrabi an affront, let alone an insult.
Apparently, honoring a person who murdered Israeli civilians in cold blood doesn't complicate an atmosphere to support negotiations nor does it undermine the fragile effort to bring peace to the Middle East. Evidently, honoring a person who committed an act of terrorism doesn't send a deeply negative signal about the Palestinian Authority's approach to its bilateral relationship with the United States. A public condemnation of the Palestinian Authority for honoring Mughrabi would have been the honorable thing to do. Sadly, when it comes to holding the Palestinian Authority to account, there is no such honor within the Obama Administration.
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