As the violence in Israel grows, the Biden administration’s reaction to the growing crisis in Israel was to condemn rockets from Gaza while blaming Israel for Arab violence in Israel, accusing Israelis of non-existent attacks against Arabs.
US State Department: blaming Israel for non-existent attacks
State Department spokesman Ned Price addressed the situation in Israel during a press conference on Monday.
“There is no excuse for violence, but such bloodshed is especially disturbing now, coming as it does on the last days of Ramadan,” Price added. “This includes Friday’s attack on Israeli soldiers and reciprocal ‘price tag’ attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, which we condemn in no uncertain terms.”
A “price tag attack” refers to an attack or vandalism carried out by Jewish Israelis against Arabs. Price’s accusation amounts to a blood libel as there have been no reports of any such “price tag attacks” in the last several weeks. There has been one alleged “price tag attack in 2021, occurring in July when left-wing groups accused “settlers” of vandalizing a mosque in Al Bireh.
“We call on Israeli and Palestinian officials to act decisively to deescalate tensions and bring a halt to the violence,” Price added in his statement.
Temple Mount and Shimon HaTzaddik
“It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount – in word and in practice,” he wrote.
The status quo on the Temple Mount allows for Jews to visit the site. Arab violence prevented this right from being expressed on Jerusalem Day on Monday. Muslims were granted free access to the Temple Mount during the month of Ramadan which resulted in extreme violence and damage to the site.
“Leaders across the spectrum must denounce all violent acts. Security services must ensure the safety of all of Jerusalem’s residents and hold all perpetrators to account,” the statement reads.
“We are also deeply concerned about the potential eviction of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods of Jerusalem, many of whom have lived in their homes for generations,” he continued. “As we have consistently said, it is critical to avoid steps that exacerbate tensions or take us farther away from peace. This includes evictions in east Jerusalem, settlement activity, home demolitions, and acts of terrorism.”
The evictions Price referred to are in the neighborhood surrounding the Tomb of Shimon Hatzaddik, a Kohen Gadol (High Priest) during the Second Temple period. The site is popular with Jewish pilgrims and is graphic evidence of the Jewish connection to the area dating back to the third century BCE. The cave and the adjoining land were purchased by Jews in 1876. In 2008, Jews sued to regain their property rights. The Jerusalem District Court ruled that based on the documentation, some properties did belong to Jews, noting that the Arab families had protected tenant status as long as they paid rent, which they refused to do. The Arab families then produced Ottoman-era deeds which the court established were forgeries while the document of Jewish ownership was authentic. The court’s decision to evict the Arab squatters was supposed to be announced on Monday but was postponed due to the violence.’
It should be noted that Palestinian Authority law rules that it is a capital offense for an Arab to sell property to a Jew and, in any case, Jerusalem is not under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. It would also violate Israeli law to prohibit anyone from living where they choose based solely on their race. It would clearly be problematic for an Israeli court to rule that it is illegal for a Jew to live in a house he legally purchased in Jerusalem.
Ironically, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) condemned the Israeli court decision, labeling it as “ethnic cleansing,” an assertion that is patently absurd as the neighborhoods are entirely Arab and the court decision would diversify the ethnicity of the neighborhoods. The two congresswomen are explicitly calling for the ethnic cleansing of Jews and prohibiting Jews from choosing where they may live.
When asked if this was the position of the State Department, Price was non-committal.
“That’s not [terminology] we’ve used before,” he said. “That’s not something that our analysis supports.”
Rockets: “Palestinian” right to national self-defense
Perhaps the most shocking policy was expressed in the question and answer part of the conference. Price began by condemning the firing of hundreds of rockets from Gaza into Israeli cities.
“This is an unacceptable escalation,” Price said. “While we urge de-escalation on all sides, we also recognize Israel’s legitimate right to defend its people and its territory.”
Said Arikat, Washington Bureau Chief for al-Quds, challenged this by asking, “Do Palestinians have a right to self-defense?”
“Broadly speaking Said, we believe in the concept of self-defense. We believe it applies to any state,” responded Price.
This response is egregious on several levels. Palestine is not a state and, as such, does not have recognized borders or an army, though the policy of the Biden administration is that Judea and Samaria are occupied by Israel, i.e. a Palestinian country occupied by Israsel, a belief that has no basis in history or fact. Nor do the military branches of Hamas and the PA act as state militia, choosing instead to target Israeli civilians. The rocket attacks were carried out by Hamas which, despite being the duly elected government in Gaza, is classified by the State Department as a terrorist organization. In addition, the riots inside Israel were organized and incited by Hamas, coordinated to take place with recent rocket attacks.
Palestine: A made-up nation
David Rubin, the author of Confronting Radicals: What America can learn from Israel, noted that the claim of the “Palestinians” that they have the national right to self-defense is based on a lie.
“I challenge anyone who talks about the national rights of defense of the state of Palestine to tell me when in history did this ancient state existed,”Rubin said. “What were its borders, what was its national currency, what was its language, when did it achieve and when did it lose its sovereignty? Who were its elected or appointed officials? There never was such a nation so they don’t have the right to attack Israel.”
“There is a fiction being promoted that there is a conflict between Israel and Palestine. There is, nor has there ever been a Palestine. If we return to the pre-1967 borders, there will certainly be no Palestine, only an area under an illegal Jordanian occupation.”
“Yes,a state has a right to protect its citizens and its borders but the violence in the streets is being carrried out by Arab citizens of Israel who are harming Jewish citizens of Israel,” Rubin said. “And no nation has the right to expressly target the civilians of another state with rocket fire.”
“Ned Price is either totally ignorant of history or he is totally hostile to Israel,” Rubin said. “I hope that neither is the case but there is no other explanation for such an absurd statement.”