One of the worst storms in decades ripped through Washington DC, over the weekend, leaving devastation in its path. The storm comes as the Biden administration announced negotiations with Saudi Arabia that would require Israel to make massive concessions in land to the Palestinians. While the two seem unconnected, students of history know that milestones in the “land for peace” process have always been accompanied by natural disasters.
More than 200,000 residents were left without power, and many roads, including part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, were closed through early Monday morning as crews cleaned up fallen trees. More than 16,000 residents remained in the dark after the two-day storm passed.
A Virginia man was killed when a tree crashed down on his home. The Smithsonian National Zoo remained closed until the cleanup was complete.
The storm came in the wake of a three-day heat wave with unusually high temperatures. On Thursday, 60% of the U.S., or 200 million people, were placed under a heat advisory or flood warning or watch, according to the National Weather Service. The heat suddenly broke on Friday night, bringing winds gusting over 80 mph accompanied by torrential rainfall and frequent lightning. Thunderstorms continued into Saturday night. The storm was described as an intense microburst that often produces tornado-like damage. Many regions around the world are experiencing a multi-day heatwave that is one of the hottest on record.
The storm hit the nation’s capital directly after the White House announced that they are negotiating with Saudi Arabia. Media reports claim the negotiations include a normalization agreement with Israel that would require massive concessions to the Palestinians. It is unlikely that the current coalition government would agree to such a deal, and some sources are suggesting that the White House will turn to the leaders of the opposition parties in the hopes of forming a unity government devoid of right-wing parties that will appeal to the anti-Israel elements of the Democratic Party.
Biden’s history with natural disasters
While the connection between the negotiations and the storm may seem oblique at best, this phenomenon has happened many times before. When Biden took office in January 2020, he immediately began implementing an anti-Israel policy which included reestablishing relations with the Palestinian Authority and meeting with Iran to jump-start the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
One month later, a polar vortex came sweeping down from the north, hitting the central US with extreme cold. At least 2,400 cold temperature records were broken or tied., some of them going back 75 years or more. Temperatures over the southern and central plains were 40 – 50 °F below average. The low temperatures were accompanied by ice and snow. more than 5 million homes were without power, most of them in Texas. More than 30 people have lost their lives.
The following August, President Biden hosted Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the White House, pressuring him into accepting a plan that put a total freeze on Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria, and the sections of Jerusalem that were illegally occupied by Jordan before 1967. As Bennett flew home, Hurricane Ida, a category four hurricane, made landfall precisely on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina catastrophically flooded New Orleans, causing over 1,800 deaths and $125 billion in damage. Katrina hit the US in late August 2005, while the Israeli government was forcibly evicting over 10,000 Jews from their homes in Gush Katif.
History of Natural Disasters
August 2017: The Trump Administration’s Middle East negotiating team, led by Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, visited the region in an attempt to jump-start peace talks. Ten days later, Hurricane Harvey, described as the “worst disaster” in Texan history, made landfall, slamming the Corpus Christi region of Texas with 130 MPH winds and 13-foot storm surges.
June 2016: A summit was held in Paris as a prelude to a multi-national conference that would force Israel to unilaterally accept the two-state solution and create a Palestinian state within its borders. As the delegates left the summit, rain began to fall. Over the next 24 hours, the River Seine rose 20 feet, resulting in the worst flooding Paris has seen in decades.
August 5-13, 2015: After announcing the nuclear deal, Iran was hit with an apocalyptic-like heat wave hitting an astounding 164℉. One week later, a significant meteor struck Iran.
April 2008: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a strong advocate of the anti-Semitic Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, meets with leaders of Hamas, announcing to the world that the terrorist organization dedicated to killing Jews is “committed to peace.” One year later, he was diagnosed with cancer, and melanomas were found in his brain and liver. After only a few months of treatment, the doctors pronounced him cancer-free. Pembrolizumab, a drug developed in Israel, was a key element in his treatment.
2005: Ariel Sharon endorsed the Roadmap for Peace and began plans to remove the Jewish population of Gush Katif from the Gaza Strip. The dismantling of the Jewish settlements was scheduled for August 15th, 2005, the day after Tisha b’Av, the anniversary of both Jewish Temples being destroyed.
This disengagement was due to US pressure. Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana, leaving thousands of Americans homeless and killing at least 1,833. The damage was estimated at over $108 billion.
In July, one month before the IDF dismantled Gush Katif and evicted almost 9,000 Jews from their homes, Rabbi Yosef Dayan, a member of the nascent Sanhedrin who can trace his lineage back to King David, led a group of ten rabbis in performing an obscure, ancient Kabbalistic ceremony, the Pulsa diNura, on Sharon. The Pulsa diNura invokes the angels of destruction to block heavenly forgiveness of the subject’s sins, causing all the curses named in the Bible to befall him and resulting in his death.
Sharon’s health deteriorated, and by January of that year, he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, entering a vegetative state from which he never recovered.
October 11, 1999: Jewish settlers in 15 West Bank settlements are evicted from their homes. The Dow Jones financial average loses 5.7 percent in the worst week since October 1989. On October 15, the Dow lost 266 points. A hurricane hits North Carolina. The next morning, October 16, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocks the southwest US in the fifth most powerful earthquake in the 20th century. The earthquake was centered in the California desert and did little damage but was felt in three states.
Arafat and Netanyahu met at the Wye River Plantation in Maryland for five days of intensive talks as part of a continuation of Albright’s plan that would force Israel to give up major areas of Judea and Samaria. On October 17, Hurricane Irene boiled over. Though it never made landfall, the resulting rains and tornados that hit southern Texas caused over $750 million in damage and killed 31 people, affecting a quarter of the state. The storm dissipated as the meeting ended in Maryland. On October 21, Clinton declared the hard-hit areas of Texas a major disaster area.
May 3, 1999: Arafat was scheduled to declare an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. For two days, tornadoes ravaged the center of America, concentrated in Oklahoma and Kansas. 152 tornadoes touched down, causing $1.4 billion in damage, killing 50 and injuring almost 900 people. Arafat’s declaration was postponed to December 1999 at the request of Clinton.
November 30, 1998: Arafat arrived in Washington to meet with Clinton. He proposed a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital and began efforts to raise money. A total of 42 nations agreed to give Arafat $3 billion, with Clinton pledging $400 million and European nations pledging $1.7 billion. On the same day, the Dow Jones average plunged 216 points, and on December 1, the European Market had its worst day in history. Hundreds of billions of dollars of market capitalization were wiped out in the US and Europe.
September 28, 1998: US Secretary of State Madeline Albright gave a press briefing describing the final details of an American-brokered agreement between PLO Head Yasser Arafat and Netanyahu. According to the deal, Israel would have been required to give up 13 percent of Judea and Samaria. The same day, Georges, a category 4 hurricane, hit the United States Gulf Coast with winds of 110 mph and gusts of up to 175 mph. In terms of damage, it was the costliest hurricane since Hurricane Andrew, causing $10 billion of damage and killing 604 people.
January 21, 1998: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US President Bill Clinton at the White House and was greeted in an unwelcoming manner. Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright refused to have lunch with him. It was later that same day that the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke out.
1995: Reneging on his campaign promises just one year before, Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin aligned with his political nemesis, Shimon Peres, and signed the Oslo Accords in 1993, which created the Palestinian National Authority and granted it partial control over parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Rabbi Dayan also led rabbis in the Pulsa diNura against Rabin a few months before he was assassinated. Rabin was shot and killed in 1995 by Yigal Amir, an extremist who opposed Rabin’s peace initiative and particularly the signing of the Oslo Accords.
January 16, 1994: President Clinton met with Syria’s President Hafez al-Assad in Geneva. They discussed a peace agreement with Israel that included giving up the Golan Heights. Within 24 hours, the powerful Northridge earthquake, which registered a 6.9 on the Richter scale, hit Southern California. The earthquake caused an estimated $20 billion in damage, leaving 57 people killed and over 5,000 injured. The earthquake became the second most destructive natural disaster to hit the United States.
August 23, 1992: The Madrid Conference moved to Washington DC, and the peace talks resumed. One day later, Hurricane Andrew, the worst natural disaster recorded in American history, hit Florida, causing an estimated $30 billion in damage and leaving 180,000 homeless across the state.
October 30, 1991: US President George Bush, Sr. opened the Madrid Conference with an expectation that Israel would trade “Land for Peace”. As the conference progressed, what was later called the “Perfect Storm” developed in the North Atlantic, creating the largest waves ever recorded in that region. The storm traveled 1,000 miles from east to west, defying the more natural west-to-east pattern. One day later, on October 31, the storm struck the New England coast with 35-foot waves crashing into the Walker’s Point home of President Bush in Kennebunkport, South Maine. His home was extensively damaged.
September 1938: Though not connected to the land-for-peace process, divine retribution appeared in modern politics even before the establishment of the state of Israel. In September 1938, Lord Neville Chamberlain met with Adolf Hitler, signing the Munich Agreement intended to appease Nazi expansionism. On September 21, one of the most destructive and powerful hurricanes in recorded history struck Long Island and Southern New England. Killing an estimated 700, the brunt of the storm hit a section of Long Island that was home to the headquarters of the Bund party, the American party that supported the Nazis.