In Search for Peace, Trump Should Tackle Hate Before Borders
President Donald Trump is scheduled to make his first foreign trip later this month, with stops that will include the Vatican, Saudi Arabia and the Holy Land. In remarks at the National Day of Prayer on May 4, the president said that he hoped to bring “safety, opportunity and stability to the war-ravaged Middle East” with his visits to these centers of three of the great world religions.
In the Middle East, the president will find a legendary region of alluring oases and fatal mirages. His challenge will be to reinforce US bonds with proven allies that are still reeling from an ever-more-threatening Iranian regime, which was empowered by the Obama administration. Trump will also need to spurn false peace promises, and promote the religious foundations of interfaith and international tolerance. A tall order indeed.
Mostly, though, in his quest for greater stability and peace in the Middle East, the president should consider taking a road less traveled by his predecessors: tackling hatred before borders.
Trump’s arrival in the Holy Land will find many Israelis feeling that they have no peace partner to negotiate with. The Palestinian Authority (PA), under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, is a profoundly corrupt organization despite — or rather in large part due to — massive amounts of funding from the West.
And this funding continues to flow despite the virulent hatred and lies preached by Palestinian leaders, governmental organizations and schools.
Abbas’ remarkable ability to tell a bald-faced lie while looking a world leader in the eye was recently on display at the White House, when he told President Trump: “We are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace. And we are endeavoring to bringing about security, freedom and peace for our children to live like the other children in the world along with the Israeli children in peace, freedom and security.”
Hogwash. Abbas and his PA cronies are using American tax dollars to brainwash yet another generation of Palestinian children to hate their Jewish neighbors; they often name schools in “honor” of terrorists, and pay the families of suicide bombers monthly stipends.
Abbas and the PA are not alone in this duplicity. Abbas’ arch rival, the terrorist group Hamas, has launched a PR campaign to present itself to the world as the true leaders of the Palestinians. And the terror group’s leaders now don three-piece suits rather than keffiyehs, and have allegedly dropped some of the more explicitly genocidal verbiage from their anti-Israel charter.
But Hamas’ barbarity is undiminished. Hamas continues to fund terror, attack Israel with rockets and terrorize its own people. When it comes to abuses against Israel, Human Rights Watch confirms that Hamas continues to hold two Israeli non-combatants with known mental health problems. And the bodies of Hadar Goldin, a young Israeli soldier murdered by Hamas during a US-brokered ceasefire in the last Gaza war, and Oron Shaul, another Israeli soldier killed in action, are still held by Hamas — acts that violate Muslim law — as revealed in a recent rather remarkable video.
Furthermore, Hamas’ superhighway of terror tunnels being burrowed underground toward Israeli communities continues unabated. And thousands of rockets, purposely embedded into the civilian infrastructure, continue to be stockpiled for the next war with the Israeli “occupiers.”
And the hate continues unabated — despite claims on the part of UNWRA, the UN agency that runs schools that educate Gaza’s young, that they have introduced a Holocaust education and “peace” curriculum. Not true. Again, American tax dollars are going to schools where — according to a recent documentary — students as young as 13 proudly declare that they want to join ISIS and kill Jews.
Hamas has also yet to formally abandon the heart of its genocidal, antisemitic 1988 charter, which insists “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it….”
So, amid all of this hate, where should Trump begin in a search for peace? As I said before, by taking a road less traveled by his predecessors and tackling hatred before borders.
First, when it comes to the Palestinians, the US should block funds for the PA and UNRWA that are used to inculcate hatred, or to pay families of terrorists who murder Israelis and Americans.
In Riyadh, the president should demand that the Saudis stop their poisonous global Wahhabi campaign that undermines the basis of religious tolerance of Muslims with Christians and Jews everywhere.
And at the Vatican, the president should emphasize his administration’s commitment to protect endangered religious minorities throughout the Middle East, starting with the Christians and Yazidis.
The new Trump Middle East policy should be based on transparency, which will lead to accountability; accountability diminishes corruption and reduces hate; reducing hate brings hope, hope leads to trust and trust will lead to peace.
Godspeed, Mr. President, on your peace mission.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Follow the Simon Wiesenthal Center on Facebook and on Twitter. This article was originally published by Fox News.