While some Arab governments are now exiling and shunning jihadists, our own government seems to be addicted to them. After initial signs that the State Department would finally follow the law and expel PLO “diplomats” from Washington, it appears the administration has reversed course. This is a chronic pattern under this administration. After the initial tease of good policy, they never follow through with the outcome.
The public has been brainwashed by the sham “peace process” for 25 years, which has legitimized the PLO as something other than a terrorist group. But pursuant to a 1987 law, the PLO is a terrorist group and must be treated as such. Statute (22 U.S. Code §5201-5203) forbids the PLO “to establish or maintain an office, headquarters, premises, or other facilities or establishments within the jurisdiction of the United States.” President Clinton abused waiver authority to overlook the PLO’s ongoing terrorism activity in order to jump-start the failed Oslo Accords. Every subsequent president has continued to ignore the plain language of the law, much as they ignore the 1995 law requiring the U.S. to move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
After the State Department broke the promise to move the embassy, it appeared earlier this month that the administration would finally satisfy federal law regarding the treatment of PLO “diplomats.” The State Department announced on November 18 that it would shutter the PLO office in Washington within 30 days if the PLO didn’t modify its behavior.
As part of the omnibus bill that was signed into law in 2015, waiver authority to maintain relations with the PLO was terminated if the terror group were to, among other things, lodge war crimes complaints against Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC), bypass negotiations and unilaterally seek membership in the United Nations, or form a unity government with Hamas. Given that the PLO has done all these things (never mind the overt terrorism), Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced in a letter to Husam Zomlot, the head of the PLO General Delegation to the U.S., that he had no choice but to finally follow the law, particularly after PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of war crimes at the at the U.N. General Assembly in September and called for the ICC to prosecute.
Abbas and his allies immediately threw a hissy fit, as if they have leverage over us. Sadly, that was enough for the State Department to revert back to its pro-Palestinian dogma. On Friday, State reversed course and announced it intends to keep the PLO mission open. The administration has merely “advised the PLO Office to limit its activities to those related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.” There was no comment from the State Department on whether using the office to promote the BDS movement was included in those activities. The spokesman for State further said that after 90 days, the administration may lift these “restrictions” as well.
So what happened to statute?
Evidently, laws are for suckers.
This is a similar dynamic to Trump’s fake repeal of Obama’s amnesty. After the initial drop in border crossings, based on the fear that Trump would actually enforce our sovereignty, illegal immigration is back up. The same is happening on the foreign policy front. The PLO and Hamas now know this administration is a paper tiger and will accede to their demands the minute they throw a tantrum. They will continue to secure $500 million in U.S. funds and get the State Department to pressure Israel against building in Judea and Samaria.
Unfortunately, little has changed on the national security front, even with Republicans in charge of all three branches. Our government is still willfully blind to the threat we face, mixes up allies and enemies, and engages in the wrong military interventions because we are incapable of recognizing a strategic interest. We spend $4 trillion rebuilding the Middle East, often for our enemies, while we continue to harbor terrorists on our own shores.
It would be funny if it weren’t sad, but today the House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing advertised as: “World Wide Threats: Keeping America Secure in the New Age of Terror.” They conducted two panels of witnesses that included two Obama holdovers in the government and individuals from left-wing NGOs. Not a single conservative who recognizes the threat of jihad was present — at a hearing run by Republicans. It is comical watching them grope around in the dark, “attempting” to ascertain the threat of terrorism (which is a tactic only of Islamic Jihad), while we allow the PLO and the Muslim Brotherhood to operate on our shores with impunity, continue to treat Turkey as an ally, and block Sunni Arab governments from using soft power to go after Qatar’s funding of jihad.
Indeed, our own government, run by Republicans, and even the Trump administration, are to the left of some Arab governments when it comes to acknowledging who is an enemy and who is an ally. The Egyptian and Saudi governments understand that the PLO and Hamas, although Sunni, are puppets of Iran. Yet our government continues to empower Iran by enabling the PLO’s stealth jihad.
Then there is the issue of the Kurds. Following Trump’s Friday call with Turkish President Erdogan, the de facto leader of the Sunni jihadist world and ally of Iran, the administration indicated it would cut back some aid to the Syrian Kurds. If this is indeed Trump’s intent, it would represent a colossal betrayal of an ally and reflect the most backward strategy imaginable. We are sending billions of dollars to the Iranian-backed Baghdad government and would never dare stop supporting the Kabul Islamist government, despite the devastating critique from the Inspector General report. Yet we are genuflecting to Turkey and Iran to pull support from the one entity that is an effective hedge against both ISIS and state sponsors of terror like Turkey and Iran. One could not possibly conjure up a more immoral, insane, and “America last” foreign policy than that.
In case you thought the embrace of enemies and denigrating of allies was a fad limited only to the Obama administration, think again. And next time you hear news of the administration doing something positive that puts America first, make sure you see the dead bodies of the past policies first. They have a way of coming back to life quite quickly.
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Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.