President Barack Obama’s State Dept. experts on the Middle East have once again proven how much they don’t know.
One would think that the experts at Foggy Bottom are aware of how many Americans live in Judea and Samaria, or what the administration likes to call the “occupied territories.”
As reported here earlier this week, a British professor disclosed in a new book, to be published later this year, what almost every American in Israel knows – that there are disproportional number of Americans living in Judea and Samaria.
There are approximately 60,000 former American “settlers,” according to Oxford University Prof. Sara Yael Hirschhorn.
On Monday, Palestinian Authority propagandist Sayeed Erikat, who covers the State Dept. for the Al-Quds newspaper, asked deputy spokesman Mark Toner if he was aware that “there are 60,000 American Jewish settlers in the West Bank.”
Sixty thousand? I don’t.
Erikat said, for Toner’s information, there are indeed so many Americans running around there, and he used his podium to ask how the United States government, which considers all settlers to be illegal and even illegitimate, can tolerate Americans living in what they call Judea and Samaria..
“Do you have any leverage with these American citizens?” Erikat asked.
We, through our embassy, offer support for American citizens throughout the world. But what – we’re very clear on our policy on this issue.
Erikat suggested what could be the next hammer hold the Obama administration can exercise on Israel. If the United States opposes settlements, why should it offer services to Americans whom they consider to be illegal?
Should the United States or would the United States have some sort of a program – an incentive program – to sort of encourage settlers to perhaps dismantle these settlements?
Toner didn’t answer directly, and Erikat let him get away with stating “that’s really a question for the Israeli Government to look at.”
Hirschhorn’s study pointed out that the Americans in Judea and Samaria by and large educated academics. She did not describe them as Wild West cowboys.
But Erikat gave Toner an “education” about the “true” identity of many of those Americans, to wit:
Many elements among these settlers are extremists. They carry guns, they enforce their own sort of rules and regulations on roads and hamlets and so on – Palestinian hamlets. Do you have any kind of program, perhaps, to rehabilitate these settlers, bring them back somehow, as opposed to the settlements?
Toner, reflecting State Dept. knowledge, so to speak, actually patronized Erikat instead of contradicting him outright, which he couldn’t do because his experts only know what they want to imagine.
We’ve also spoken about the uptick in violence, in extremist violence in Israel. And in fact, the government and the prime minister have also spoken about some of the recent attacks that we view as abhorrent. And we call on, frankly, all sides to stop this kind of violence.
There is no indication that the attacks were carried out by Americans, In fact, it still is open to question whether Jews or an Arab gang carried out the most infamous attack – the firebombing of an Arab home in which an 18-month-old baby and his father were killed.
So far, the Obama administration has not suggested how to “rehabilitate” settlers, of whom I am one.
I didn’t know I need rehabilitation.
By the way, I do not carry a gun. I might get arrested for defending myself.