Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

The Trump Administration Settles In on Settlements

by Elliott Abrams Sunday, April 2, 2017

Israeli settlement activity has been in the news this past week because the Trump administration is steadily defining its policy.

What has emerged is a good policy: sensible, flexible, and realistic. Which is to say, it’s a lot like Bush policy.

Obama policy had made construction in the settlements a sore point for eight full years. This was one reason among many for the constant tension between the government of Israel and that of the United States during all of Mr. Obama’s term in office. Read more »

Ronald Reagan, Deane Hinton, and “Fake News” in The New York Times

by Elliott Abrams Saturday, April 1, 2017

The term “fake news” is no doubt over-used these days, but there is such a thing. Indeed, there is even such a thing as a “fake news” obituary. A prime example of distortion and false reporting can be found in the obituary this week of Deane Hinton.

Deane Hinton was a superb and widely-honored American diplomat. He died last Tuesday at age 94, and The Times accurately reported that “Mr. Hinton, a plain-spoken economist, served as the United States ambassador to El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama, as well as Zaire and Pakistan, under four Republican presidents beginning in 1974.” I had the honor and pleasure of knowing Amb. Hinton when I served in the Reagan administration. Read more »

What’s the Palestinian Contribution to Peace?

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Trump administration’s Middle East policy is developing, and most recently a key adviser to the President, Jason Greenblatt, visited Jerusalem and Ramallah.

The full content of his talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials is secret, as it should be. Still, it is clear that the President would like to move the parties forward toward a peace agreement. According to various press reports there was a good discussion of how Israeli settlement activities might be limited, and of steps that might be taken to improve the Palestinian economy. Read more »

The Problem of the Lebanese Army

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, February 23, 2017

Should the United States be giving military assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF)? According to the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon (speaking last summer),  “In this year alone we provided over $221 million in equipment and training to the Lebanese security forces.” That number presumably includes aid to Lebanon’s police and Internal Security Forces, but given the small size of the country it is a hefty sum. Read more »

The Paris Peace Conference

by Elliott Abrams Sunday, January 15, 2017

 

Once upon a time, the term “Paris Peace Conference” was a serious one, and referred to the historic Versailles Conference that ended World War I. That conference began on January 18, 1919, and it is striking that the French would wish to make a mockery of their own history by convening a useless conference on almost exactly the same date—today, January 15. Read more »

What Happens When UN Security Council Resolutions are Ignored?

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, January 5, 2017

What happens when UN Security Council resolutions are ignored? That depends, really—on whether you are any of 192 other members of the United Nations, or are Israel.

Defenders of Israel often claim that it is treated differently by the United Nations from any other nation. That claim is accurate, and a brief look at Lebanon offers some proof. It continues to violate Security Council resolutions, year after year—but no one complains, and no one ever argues that Lebanon must be punished with boycotts or prosecutions for doing so. In fact they are often congratulated for their defiance. Read more »

The United Nations Resolution on Israel

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Since the adoption last week the Security Council resolution on Israel, I’ve had my say in The Weekly Standard and The Washington Post condemning the Obama administration’s decision to allow the resolution to pass. The resolution rewards the PLO for refusing to negotiate and adopts its tactic of replacing serious, face-to-face negotiations with useless dramas in New York. It is a danger to Israel. And by refusing to veto, the Obama administration abandoned the usual American practice of defending Israel from what Jeane Kirkpatrick called “the jackals” at the United Nations. Read more »