By Mike Pompeo
In the wake of the heartbreaking and tragic violence in Israel over the weekend, it was disappointing yet not surprising to see the Biden Administration’s response – a set of weak statements calling on both sides to “de-escalate.” De-escalate? Israel didn’t attack Gaza or Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. And it certainly didn’t attack the backer of this violence: the regime in Iran. Every single life lost in this conflict, Israeli and Palestinian alike, is the result of Iranian-backed Palestinian terror.
The Biden Administration has clearly signaled weak support for the right of Israelis to defend themselves, inviting precisely the kinds of violence we are seeing in the region today. Simple things like President Biden delaying his call with Israeli leadership and re-starting funding to the Palestinian Authority through the United Nations all tell Hamas and terrorists in the West Bank that America sees Hamas violence and Israeli demands for its own security as morally equal. Team Biden appears to be placing less value on the relationship between Israel and the United States than even the Obama Administration did.
Why not condemn Hamas unequivocally? Why not stand by Israel as our most important ally in the region? The prevailing narrative on the far Left has been that this violence occurred due to the forced displacement of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. This is a fiction. The violence and unrest are due to a concerted effort by Hamas, a designatedterrorist organization, dedicated to wiping out Israel and the nearly 7 million Jews who live there.
Hamas, and the cowardly terrorists who commit acts of violence at their behest, does not want peace. It has been inflaming tensions between Israeli security forces and the Palestinians in the West Bank, and it saw an opportunity to assert its power and authority on Jerusalem Day, an Israeli holiday celebrating the anniversary of the reunification of Israel’s capital city. Hamas has seen the power of the Palestinian cause wane significantly, due primarily to the Trump Administration’s diplomatic triumph in brokering the Abraham Accords; and they are desperate to assert themselves as the true leaders of the Palestinian people during this period of weakness and disillusion with Palestinian leadership. That Israeli security forces took action to disperse a massive gathering of Palestinians waving flags bearing the emblem of Hamas should be seen as an understandable and a logical response to ensure the safety of Israeli civilians.
Of even more geostrategic importance, the Biden Administration refuses to support Israel against Palestinian terror because it risks undermining their efforts to get back into the nuclear deal with Iran. Many of the rockets being fired are almost certainly of Iranian origin and arrived in the Gaza Strip with Iranian support. This is yet another terror “front” for Iran aimed at achieving its goal of isolating Israel and, ultimately, forcing Israel’s surrender to its will.
Team Biden, desperate for a deal, placates Iran. When Iranian cutters swarm our Navy, a statement is issued. When Iran enriches uranium at increased levels, team Biden shrugs its shoulders. When Iran sells crude oil to China in violation of sanctions, zero enforcement. When the Iranian-backed Houthis launch missiles into Saudi Arabia, putting American lives at risk, team Biden lifts the terror designation on the Houthis. All this aimed at appeasing Iran to get back into the failed nuclear deal. And, so, when Iranian-backed terrorists strike and kill Israelis, team Biden says, can’t we all just get along.
The Trump Administration recognized that weakness begets war and violence and that only strength deters it. We recognized that Israel was our greatest democratic ally in the Middle East and that the Israeli government has a legitimate right to ensure the safety and security of its people. We did not allow our humanitarian aid to empower the terrorist organizations who wish to destroy Israel and harm Americans. We left the failed JCPOA (the Iran nuclear deal). Such agreements and aid packages only contribute to greater instability by giving resources and power to truly evil people. The result of these decisions was stability, which culminated in the signing of unprecedented peace agreements between Israel and her neighbors.
At the ACLJ, we stand firmly in defense of Israel. Our legal office in Jerusalem is mobilizing to defend Israel’s interests. And the ACLJ is taking action in court, having just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Biden Administration over the resumed funding for the PA and its “Pay for Slay” terror subsidies. As I’ve said before, the Biden Administration is guilty of money laundering for terrorists. We must defend Israel.
It is ironic that the leftists predicted war when we left the JCPOA, moved our embassy, and signed the Abraham Accords; there was no war. But, the Biden Administration, though, has responded to the terrorist activities of Hamas and the PA with weakness. It has given these organizations the incentive to engage in violent acts of terror against Israel. And Hamas has seized on that advantage with violence against our closest ally in the Middle East. The Biden Administration has distanced itself from Israel by attempting to revive the failed Iran deal, siding with the Ayatollahs over our ally. The heartbreaking violence we are now seeing is a direct result of the Biden Administration’s strategy of weakness. America must be strong, defend its allies without hesitation, and put the interests of the American people first if we want to live in a stable, peaceful world.
Mike Pompeo is the former Secretary of State and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).