U.S. Vice President Joe Biden blamed both Jews and Arabs Sunday night for the current terror wave wracking Israel, and the lack of peace with the Palestinian Authority.
Biden said in a speech to the annual gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington that both sides lacked the political will to find peace.
The vice president said he has never been so pessimistic. “I didn’t walk away encouraged,” he said in the wake of his recent visit to the country. “The current prospects for peace are not heartening… There is no political will among Israelis or Palestinians to move forward at this moment with serious negotiations, and that’s incredibly disappointing.
Biden’s wife and grandchildren were meters away eating dinner on the beach when a Arab terrorist murdered a U.S. tourist and wounded nearly a dozen others during that visit.
He did criticize Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas for failing to condemn the terror attacks in Israel, tearing up as he spoke of bringing his late son’s Jewish children to the country of their heritage (their mother is Jewish).
One might have expected him to have a bit more clarity about the situation as a result of that experience. But apparently Biden learned nothing more than a greater need for peace – something Israel has sought since the signing of the declaration of independence in 1948.
The vice president insisted that both sides still had to do a little “show me” – a comment not well received by the audience.
He talked about the efforts by the Palestinian Authority and its supporters to secure sanctions against the Jewish State in various international forums, and pledged the United States would continue to block those moves.
But he also criticized the Israeli policy of “building settlements and seizing land.” The reference is to the process of legalizing land already designated in an international document as Israeli under Area C as state land, allowing existing Jewish communities to continue natural growth and letting families repair or add needed items to their homes within the boundaries of their properties.
“Israel’s government’s steady and systematic process of expanding settlements, legalizing outposts, seizing land, is eroding in my view the prospect of a two-state solution,” Biden said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have repeatedly pointed out that the conflict with Arab enemies long preceded the 1967 war, and has little or nothing to do with these areas. In fact, the Arabs themselves say it repeatedly in their harangues to their own people – in Arabic, of course – referring to the entire geographic area “from the river to the sea” as their own land.
Biden said these activities take Israel towards a “one-state reality, a reality that is dangerous.”
The vice president also attempted to convince those present that Israel should sign a military memorandum of understanding with the Obama administration prior to the elections.
“It will, without a doubt, be the most generous security assistance package in the history of the United States,” Biden said.Hana Levi Julian