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July 25, 2017 10:53 am

President Trump — Stop Pressuring Israel

avatar by Stephen M. Flatow /

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US President Donald Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. Photo: White House. – The pressure has begun.

The State Department’s “evenhanded” statement regarding the Temple Mount. The US-backed Middle East Quartet’s call for “restraint.” The announcement that President Donald Trump’s international negotiations representative is going to the region to “mediate” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). It all adds up to one thing: American pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians.

The July 14 terror attack that killed two Israeli policemen at the Temple Mount is a clear-cut case of Palestinian aggression, if ever there was one — and the Trump administration should have been clearly on Israel’s side from the beginning.

Security cameras videotaped a terrorist bringing a backpack full of guns and knives into the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Since there were no metal detectors, he strolled right in without the slightest interference from the Islamic Waqf officials who administer the site. The security camera footage then showed the heavily armed terrorists coming out of the mosque, and beginning their murderous rampage.

Once the introduction of metal detectors was announced — even before the two slain Israeli policemen were buried — the Palestinians launched a campaign of wild incitement. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, PA-salaried Muslim preachers and other PA officials openly called on Arabs to launch “days of rage.”

The Arab mobs have been through this drill a thousand times before. They knew what to do. And they did it. In and around Jerusalem last Friday, they tried to stone and burn Israeli police officers and soldiers to death.

The Trump administration should have been the first to speak out against the PA’s blatant incitement to violence. After all, if we are to believe news reports, an angry Trump yelled at Abbas over the issue during their May 23 meeting in Bethlehem, saying that the Palestinian leader “tricked” him in an earlier meeting in Washington, DC. “You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement,” Trump allegedly said, according to Israel’s Channel 2.

Well, the shock must have worn off pretty quickly, because here we are — two months later — and Abbas and company are openly inciting the mobs while Trump says nothing.

In fact, his silence is worse than nothing. Heather Nauert, the spokesperson for Trump’s State Department, declared, “We support the status quo and we welcome all sides continuing their commitment to maintaining the status quo. We are encouraging both sides to not take any actions that would potentially escalate tensions.”

Every part of that statement is wrong. The US should not support the “status quo.” The status quo had no metal detectors. That was the whole problem — the reason the terrorist was able to bring those weapons into the mosque, the reason two Israeli policemen are lying in their graves today, is precisely because the status quo was enabling terrorism.

Upholding the “status quo” at this point is the same as saying that Israel should remove the detectors and permit terrorists to bring in weapons.

The second part of Nauert’s statement is just as bad. Calling on “both sides to not take any actions that would potentially escalate tensions” is to treat the aggressors and the victims as equivalent. The PA is the side guilty of escalating tensions; it is the PA that Trump should be condemning and pressuring.

Then it got worse. The Middle East Quartet, which had faded into obscurity, suddenly reared its ugly head. The Quartet consists of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the US. It cannot issue a statement without the cooperation and approval of the Trump administration. The Quartet’s statement regarding the Temple Mount was to say it was “very concerned about tensions,” and to call for a “solution that assures public safety and the security of the site and maintains the status quo.”

No acknowledgement of Palestinian aggression. No condemnation of PA incitement. And, once again, a call for the status quo. This is even worse than the State Department’s comments, because the US is in effect collaborating with the UN, EU and Russia in pressuring Israel.

Now comes the announcement that Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s international negotiations representative, is rushing to the Middle East to seek “a mutually acceptable solution” to the Temple Mount controversy. You don’t seek a “mutually acceptable solution” between a cop and a robber. You don’t seek a “mutually acceptable solution” between a terrorist and his victims.

The solution should not need to be “acceptable” to the PA, because the PA is the guilty party. Instead of remaining silent about the Palestinian riots, the Trump administration should be reading Abbas the riot act. The US should be making it clear that it supports metal detectors on the Temple Mount, just as it supports the metal detectors that are in place at the Western Wall, at the Vatican, at leading mosques around the world and in every American airport.

The Obama administration was notorious for its “evenhanded” calls for “restraint” on “both sides,” which was always a code word for pressure on Israel to make concessions that would appease the Palestinians. But appeasement only encouraged and emboldened Palestinian terrorism. The new administration should not repeat this mistake.

Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Evelyn Hayes

    Every time the actions against Israel merit and
    demand condemnation the story is turnspeaked against Israel. Two guards on the Temple Mount were victims of premeditated murder. Premeditated murder incited by hate speech in the schools, mosques and by public officials. Arafat’s crimes made him illegitimate. This Abbas, holocaust denier, big liar is still negotiated with, To change the topic of murders he did a blood libel making the victimized Jew a violater. From Temple Mount arab atrocity riots are excused multiplying the crimes and the anti semitism. Shame on Bibi who always is sidetracked. Shame on the status quo that supports world disorder.

  • sab1053

    If they were pro Arab there would be a Palestinian State by now and the $3.8 billion welfare check to Israel would be cut off.

  • Alon Marcus

    Well how does it feel to be the useful idiots all of you were?

  • The fact remains that Trump’s performance re Israel has been abysmal – all huff and puff and NO substance.Never mind that I threw my support behind him,

    In reality, Trump & Netanyahu are mirror images, at least, when it comes to blowhard machismo! Moreover, the very fact that Trump kicked the can down the road re moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, as promised – and, as prescribed by US law – attests to how nothing has changed via tangible support for Israel.

    As always, actions speak louder than words.On the other hand, the real onus is atop our PM, the “serial accommodator”, and this charge sheet is laid out within my interview at –

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

  • Abelardy

    Bibi surrendered to Arab terror before Trump. I don’t think Trump helped, but he didn’t make the decision to capitulate. Bibi caved all on his own.

  • SteveC1

    “It all adds up to one thing: American pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians.”

    – That is most definitely an incorrect conclusion.

  • Mike jones

    The author is 100% right! However, the non-Muslim world doesn’t have the courage to stand up against Islam.

  • Chuck Rogers

    President Donald Trump should tell Israel to take every action they feel necessary to protect their nation, and to hold nothing back.
    When king Ahasuerus told Esther and Mordecai to write to the Jews, that they had every right to defend themselves, the tables turned and the Jews prevailed. The Jews were the victims then and now. Israel has every right to defend itself. I hope Israel will stand strong no matter who comes against it. GOD is for Israel, and He will not allow it to be destroyed!