State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller on Tuesday told reporters that “Violence in the West Bank this year is at levels not seen since the Second Intifada, and in recent weeks, an alarming surge in violent acts has driven this unwelcome record even higher.” He then added: “This includes unprecedented levels of violence by Israeli extremist settlers targeting Palestinians and their property, displacing entire communities, as well as violence by Palestinian extremist militants against Israeli civilians.”
As has been typical of these anti-settler announcements by the Biden administration, Miller did not back his accusations with factual examples. He also did not refer to recent reports of a dramatic reduction in violence in Judea and Samaria, Arab and otherwise. According to data from the Israel Police, between October 7 and November 7, 97 incidents of lawbreaking of various types were recorded, compared to 184 such offenses in the corresponding period in 2022.
It should be noted that the decrease has been measured in every section: violent friction is down to 20 from 53 in the corresponding period a year ago, PA Arab terrorism 47 compared to 103, Arab terror attacks 5 compared to 10, attacks on security forces down to 4 (10), and agricultural vandalism down to 97 (184). In the “serious attacks” category, which usually worries the American government, zero incidents were recorded in the same 30 days, compared to 3 incidents in the corresponding period last year (see also: Leaked IDF Doc Shows Anti-Arab Violence in Judea, Samaria Dropping).
But the administration does not wish to be confused by the facts. And so, Miller announced: “We unequivocally condemn attacks by violent Israeli extremists against Palestinians and those by violent Palestinian extremists against Israelis. These acts threaten West Bank stability in the immediate term and take us further away from a future in which Palestinians and Israelis can both live in – both can live in peace and security, in two states.”
And so, according to Miller’s Tuesday declaration, “Today, as President Biden recently warned, the United States is taking action to address this escalating violence in the West Bank by implementing a new visa restriction policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
“Under this policy, the United States will pursue visa restrictions against individuals involved in or meaningfully contributing to the undermining of peace, security, or stability in the West Bank. This includes acts of violence against persons or property, as well as undue restrictions on civilians’ access to essential services and basic necessities. Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.
“The department is pursuing initial action against individuals pursuant to this visa restriction policy today. We will designate additional individuals pursuant to this policy in the coming days.”
As annoying and, frankly, libelous as the above announcement is, it also means that US law enforcement will now be obligated to present real evidence against those imaginary violent individuals should those individuals wish to enter the US and enjoy cultural treasures such as Disney World, Disneyland, and Six Flags.
MOST SETTLERS DON’T NEED OR WANT VISAS
And that brings us to the inherent futility of the administration’s Visa threat.
Those few Jewish settlers who have been entangled in clashes with local Arabs, as a rule in self-defense, are probably not interested at all in visiting America. And those settlers who do travel to the US on business or as students are very unlikely to have been engaged in such clashes.
But wait, there’s more: as of 2021, one in every 10 American olim chooses to live in a settlement in Judea and Samaria. They are US citizens who do not require a visa to visit their other home. And so, Biden’s visa threat turns out to be no threat at all.
Also, as one reporter pointed out to Spokesperson Miller: “You say it will also affect Palestinians who are implicated in violence against Israelis in the West Bank or elsewhere, I presume. However, the Palestinians are not included under the Visa Waiver Program. So, what’s the impact?”
Miller answered: “They can still apply for visas to come to the United States, and under this program, would not be eligible.”
Under which program? There is no visa waiver program for PA citizens. There is, however, a well-established program of the FBI and the Dept. of Homeland Security to deny terrorists the right to enter the US. Use it in good health.
Perhaps the Biden administration should apologize at this point for wasting everyone’s time with its idle threat and let’s call it a day.