It was President Donald Trump’s move, but it looked like it was right out of the Ronald Reagan playbook.
The Trump administration this week refused to grant visas to six “experts” from the Palestinian Authority to travel to the United Nations for a report on how the Palestinian government plans to achieve its goals for the year 2030, according to The Associated Press.
And while the reasons the visas were denied weren’t available Thursday, it was a solid reminder of just how the world has changed with Donald Trump in the White House.
During the Obama years, of course, Israel was treated to the back of America’s hand on more than one occasion at the United Nations – including one particularly shameful betrayal in December of 2016 when, in one of his final acts as president, Obama allowed an anti-Israel resolution to pass the Security Council.
Back then, Palestinians were the clear favorite when it came to American foreign policy as the Obama administration feuded continuously with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Things are different now. And instead of having the ear of the American president, Palestinians are reduced to demonstrating their own powerlessness by lodging ineffectual complaints. And that makes them furious.
According to the AP, Palestinian U.N. ambassador Ryad Mansour told reporters that “Israel had ‘complicated the matter’ by refusing to allow several of the experts to travel from Ramallah to Jerusalem, where the U.S. Consulate is located, to check on their visas.”
“We condemn this action,” Mansour said, according to the AP.
Considering the behavior of the United Nations member states and the majority of its Security Council, the United States and Israel have a good deal more to protest than the Palestinians do.
The body is overwhelmingly anti-American and anti-Israel, as Ambassador Nikki Haley pointed out in June when the United States announced it was withdrawing from the U.N.’s laughably named Human Rights Council.
But since the U.N.’s founding, representatives of governments fiercely, even lethally, opposed to the United States have traveled freely to and from the U.N. in New York City because of the U.S. government’s commitment to act as “host country.”
There can be exceptions, though. And while the reason for the Palestinian visa denial in this case weren’t clear, the action does call to mind then-President Ronald Reagan’s decision in 1988 to deny then-Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasir Arafat permission to enter the country to make a speech to the U.N.
As The New York Times reported at the time, the denial was based on the fact that Arafat “knows of, condones and lends support to” acts of terror.
It’s a fair bet that anyone associated with the Palestinian Authority today – the violent, corrupt successor to Arafat’s violent, corrupt PLO – is guilty of knowing of, condoning and lending support to terrorism too.
Back in 1988, the Arafat situation was taken seriously enough in the world that the U.N. General Assembly actually relocated to Geneva, Switzerland, temporarily to hear the terrorist speak in person because he wasn’t allowed into the United States. (According to The Times he received sustained applause that lasted for more than a minute. Some things never change.)
But Reagan’s move to deny Arafat entry to the United States was certainly a reminder of where power, ultimately, resides.
The Trump administration’s denial of visas for the Palestinian “experts” didn’t have anywhere near the same impact as Reagan’s decision. But it’s a move that, along with its increasing lack of patience with the U.N.’s consistently anti-American and anti-Israel positions, is a reminder of just where power resides.
And if that makes Palestinians furious, it might make them learn something too.
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