Biden Administration Engagement with Iran Yields Violence in Israel
by Ellie Cohanim
The timing of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s rocket attacks on Israel and on Israeli population centers is no accident. Just over 100 days into office, President Joe Biden has drawn America’s enemies — Iran and its terror proxies — close to the U.S. administration, all while distancing from U.S. allies Israel, Saudi Arabia and the peacemaking Gulf Arab states. The more than 3,313 rockets fired by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Gaza toward Israel exemplify Biden’s failed foreign policy.
It was not until almost one month after he was inaugurated, that Biden finally placed a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While Netanyahu was his first call as president to a Middle Eastern leader, the call only took place after Republican outrage was expressed at Biden’s seeming neglect of America’s closest ally in the Middle East.
Last month, Biden restored U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority even though this funding may be at odds with the bipartisan Taylor Force Act, which makes illegal any funding, whether direct or indirect, to the Palestinian Authority that may be funneled to terrorists. Biden has also pledged millions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which has been documented indoctrinating Palestinian children to hate Jews and Israel.
But where the Biden administration is engaging in diplomatic malpractice is in its desperate efforts to reenter the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran deal, which would give the Iranian regime — Hamas’ benefactor and supplier — with billions of dollars in sanctions relief. Iran has been designated by the State Department as the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism, and according to reports, Iran has been funding Hamas with $30 million monthly for intelligence on Israeli missile capabilities.
Additionally, the Israeli military has confirmed that many of the rockets being used by Hamas since their attacks began this week are of Iranian origin. Any U.S. release of funds to the Iranian regime will likely wind up in Hamas coffers to be used in terror activity against our ally Israel.
The Biden administration's failed foreign policy isn't helping the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Trump administration through its “maximum pressure campaign” contained the Iranian threat, while rebuilding trust with our Sunni Gulf Arab allies. This policy of confronting U.S. enemies while standing by U.S. allies ultimately led to four warm peace deals brokered by the Trump administration and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco and Israel — the first peace deal in the region in 26 years.
In stark contrast, today we are seeing our ally Israel under Hamas rocket attacks and the Israeli military taking retaliatory measures against Hamas in Gaza. Alarmingly, Israeli Arabs within Israeli towns have been rioting, burning down synagogues and attacking their Israeli neighbors, while Israeli vigilantes have been attacking their Arab neighbors in response. Following four years of relative quiet during the Trump administration, we are seeing an Israel besieged by Hamas rockets and domestic Arab unrest.
Elections and U.S. foreign policy have consequences. The Biden administration must allow Israel the time that it needs to “degrade” Hamas’ capabilities without making demands on Israel for a premature ceasefire. Most importantly, the United States should walk out of the Vienna talks with Iran. It is not too late for America to let the world know that we stand with the peacemakers, and that we stand against those who wreak terror and havoc in the Middle East.
But if the Biden administration continues down the path of pursuing the Iranian regime for reentry into the JCPOA, we can all expect more regional instability and more needless bloodshed in the Middle East. We are seeing the consequences of emboldening the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, in real time.
First published in The Hill.
Ellie Cohanim is the former U.S. deputy envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism and a visiting fellow at Independent Women's Forum. She is a native of Iran. Follow her on Twitter: @elliecohanim.