A Palestinian official said Joe Biden should punish Israel if it applies sovereignty to areas of Judea and Samaria, but the Democratic candidate has said he won’t.
The Palestinian Authority representative to London, Husam Zomlot, took a shot at presidential candidate Joe Biden Tuesday, saying the Democrat was not taking a strong enough stance against the proposed annexation of Israeli settlements in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
Zomlot slammed Biden’s unwillingness to talk about harsh consequences for Israel should Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu go ahead with the plan this summer, Times of Israel reported.
“We are not seeing any new sort of policy lever on the part of the Biden campaign that would actually help in the changing of the calculus,” Zomlot said. “So far, it’s nothing that would actually dissuade Netanyahu from going ahead with annexation.”
Biden has said in the past that he is against unilateral Israeli annexation and that the future status has to be determined through the peace process.
Annexation “would choke off any hope for peace,” Biden said at the AIPAC Policy Conference in March.
However, Biden has made no public remarks yet on what a Biden administration response would be if Israel does annex some settlement areas. Known as a friend of Netanyahu, Biden said last week he wouldn’t cut aid to Israel in order to pressure the Netanyahu government.
“I’m not going to place conditions on security assistance, given the serious threats that Israelis face,” Biden said. “This would be, I think, irresponsible.”
Zomlot said Biden’s statements means he’s allowing Netanyahu to carry out a unilateral move without any substantial American response, no matter who is in the White House next year.
“If no one is now calling for implementing sanctions, if annexation does not merit the imposition of sanctions by the US, I don’t know what will actually qualify for sanctions,” he said. “If Netanyahu does not hear and feel the word sanctions … then his calculus will continue and he will [enact] annexation.”
Annexation is a war crime that must be stopped,” Zomlot tweeted earlier this month.
Left-wing Democrats have called for the party’s candidates to take steps against Israel, but radical candidates fell out of the race, leaving Biden as their candidate to challenge Trump in November.
Zomlot said annexation “is a psychological threshold that, should we pass, it would be a point of no return.”
American officials, including Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, said earlier this month the annexation decision was Israel’s to make and implied that should certain conditions for the Trump Peace Deal be met, the Americans would not object.
With the Palestinians desperate for some kind of American support on the issue, Zomlot tried to call on Biden to let Netanyahu know there would be serious American repercussions should a Democrat win the election.
“If we don’t prevent it now, it will be a new dawn,” Zomlot said. “If the Biden team does not send the right messages now and if they do not contribute to changing the calculus — and they are not so far – I think the headache that Mr. Biden will inherit once he is elected, if he is elected, will be immense.”