I’m a strong supporter of the State of Israel, with all its warts and miscues.
Then today, I saw a disturbing report that the Trump administration decided to close the Palestine Liberation Organization's DC office because its officials have failed to take steps "to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel." including their condemnation of a pending U.S. peace plan.
How can we make any progress, however difficult, by shutting down communications because one element is not as productive, nice or doing what we want?
Then it became clear this action was just one more of the kind the Trump administration calls its form of “negotiation” by the boastful deal maker in charge.
To be sure, he has not closed down a whole bunch of offices, embassies or other operations we don’t like or who do not kowtow to the Trump version of deal making.
Certainly, anyone with access to the most minimal kind of media or special interest group knows the differences between Israel and the PLO are miles wide. It may take generations to achieve an agreement acceptable to both sides. That is the reality of diplomacy for good or ill.
Now, however, to close down the PLO office because they are not as cooperative as the Trump operation would like plays right into the hands of the "I told you so" crowd, who both hate Israel and have learned that dealing with the present White House can be like swimming against an ocean tide.
Even more, the closure will now help the propaganda operations from PLO sympathizers and end up costing us tons more in terms of time, money and other realities to get even the slightest positive action back on track.
In light of the journalistic volumes these days about what happens in the White House, or, at least, what is alleged to be happening, the announcement does suggest there could be still more behind it than what some PR announcement might imply.
The timing, however, suggests this should have one of those papers someone claimed staff was pulling off the presidential desk to avoid dangerous or at least foolish actions.
Joe Honick is an international consultant to business and government and writes for many publications. He can be reached at [email protected]