Mona Charen

Even stipulating that the announcement of new construction in Ramat Shlomo was ill timed, the president's response was extraordinary. Despite the fact that Netanyahu apologized for the bureaucratic gaffe, the president very publicly instructed his secretary of state to call Netanyahu two days later to scold him further -- a task the secretary of state apparently fulfilled with gusto.

So while the Obama administration extends its "open hand" to the butchers of Tehran (even after the hand is repeatedly slapped), and truckles to the regime in Syria, it upbraids Israel.

Choosing to excoriate Israel on the matter of these apartments speaks volumes about the president's view of the conflict in general. The president's outrage is highly selective. Two months before Vice President Biden's visit, Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the PA, attended a "birthday celebration" for the "martyr" Dalal Mughrabi. Mughrabi led 11 terrorists who carried out the 1978 "coastal road" attack, the worst terror attack in Israel's history. Coming ashore near the northern Israeli city of Haifa, Mughrabi and her heavily armed team hijacked two busses filled with tourists, forced all 71 into one bus, and attempted to take it to Tel Aviv. Along the way, they machine-gunned motorists and some of the passengers. Bodies were dumped on the highway. When police finally stopped the bus by shooting out the tires, the terrorists killed as many people as they could (37, including 13 children) and set the bus aflame before being killed themselves.

The day after the vice president departed the region, a square was named for Mughrabi near Ramallah. Tawfiq Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee (the PA's predecessor organization), told the crowd, "We are all Dalal Mughrabi." Mughrabi is celebrated in other ways as well. Palestinian Media Watch reports that in the past two years, the PA has named two girls high schools, a soccer match, two summer camps, and a computer center after the "martyr."

To get a sense of the true nature of the conflict, the president need do no more than watch kids' television in the Palestinian areas. On the PA program "Chicks," children are encouraged to "explore your country" with a map that shows the entire nation of Israel labeled "Palestine."

Awaiting the secretary of state's outraged call to Abbas.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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