Is Trump backing away from Israel?
This piece from American Thinker asks that question, read a little:
“Sadly, this is another indication to Israeli supporters of Trump that despite Trump’s many campaign promises and words of support, his actions show that he is not firmly on Israel’s side.”
“Contrary to his campaign promises regarding Israel, he did not move the American embassy to Jerusalem, cut funding to the United Nations after UNESCO issued more anti-Israeli resolutions, or cut U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority for paying off terrorists and its ongoing culture of anti-Israeli hate.”
“Nor did he tear up the horrible nuclear deal with Iran, or confront its regional Jihadist aspirations and he has pressured Israel to slow down the building of Jewish homes, schools, and kindergartens in its ancestral land of Judea and Samaria, to entice back Abbas to the negotiating table. It seems that Trump has made a decision to make the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a priority of his foreign policy and to be a neutral broker rather than Israel’s best friend and ally.”
Trump was right not to tear up an agreement he has paid for, but not received performance on. This criticism is foolishness, multiplied by 2x.
“In trying to comprehend President Trump’s incomprehensible new obsession of fostering a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians, one must conclude that Trump, like Obama before him, is deluding himself into believing that a peace deal which will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian State would bring true peace, to the Middle East and greatly contribute to the well-being and prosperity of the world and the United States.”
It’s egotistical to think he can do this. That’s a fair complaint.
“However, a reality check reveals that such a belief is wishful thinking and has no basis in fact. There are two ways to predict the future reality of such a Palestinian State.”
“One way is to look at other Arab and Muslim states as a guide. Accordingly, such a state (sic) will likely mirror authoritarian states like Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States or mirror dismembered, disintegrated, failed states like Syria, Libya, and Yemen where there is civil war and atrocities committed against their own citizens. It could also easily become a state like Iran and Lebanon, which are influenced or controlled by Moslem extremists wishing to impose Sharia Law.” (Read more: @AmericanThinker)
This point of view by AT misses the point. Trump is still Israel’s best friend, but what is good for Israel, in Trump’s opinion — has changed.
Trump cannot protect Israel from the air, the only place that matters, without the all-important USAF base at Incirlick, a base we need, we house nuclear weapons at (50) and that is inside the borders of Turkey.
Erdogan, the leader of Turkey (O.K., more of a dictator lately), doesn’t want the U.S. to move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. I think we should move it, we’ve made the commitment to move it, BUT we’ve also ignored that commitment for decades, so, does it need to be done now, and if so — at what price?
Naturally I agree Israel — and only Israel — can negotiate the terms of a two-state agreement with the Palestinians, but to refuse the idea of a second state ever forming at all, forget it. This cannot fly.
Trump isn’t switching sides here, he’s being the adult, a restraint Israel needs now and then when they get all defiant about what they will and won’t do.
There’s God’s will, and then there’s what we have to work with down here.
The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) is a self described; “Independent, non-partisan think tank conducting policy-relevant research on Middle Eastern and global strategic affairs, particularly as they relate to the national security and foreign policy of Israel and regional peace and stability.
Here is some of their thinking, of which I like some, and some of which — I don’t.
“Nearly a million Jews were expelled from Arab lands after 1948 and now either need a homeland and/or have settled in Israel.”
They (BESA) plan to turn the refugee argument used to club Israel for years, right back on the Arab community. That’s clever. They know this will hit a nerve in every foreign community facing Arab immigration trouble, which is essentially everybody.
“No solution for the Palestinian refugee problem is possible so long as justice is not served for the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries.”
One possible translation: Jewish West bank settlements are not an illegal expansion of the Jewish state; they are a legal response to a refugee problem the U.N. WOULD sanction — if the nationalities were reversed. Here’s more from the May 15, 2017 Perspectives Paper foreshadowing this possible narrative;
“No one can ignore the Palestinian refugee problem. Yet no one speaks of the predicament of the larger number of Jews expelled from the Arab states in the wake of Israel’s establishment. Having failed to abort the newly established Jewish state by force of arms, these states took revenge on their own Jewish communities, some of which had lived in those lands way before their Arab/Muslim conquest in the seventh century CE.”
“About 900,000 Jews of Arab countries were forced to leave their homes, and their properties were summarily expropriated. In some of those countries, primarily Egypt and Iraq, that stolen property is estimated today in the hundreds of billions of dollars. This includes many buildings and hundreds of beautiful synagogues, enterprises, and private assets that were confiscated solely because their owners happened to be Jews.”
“Those Jews were expelled and/or forced to flee their homelands in fear of their lives. They were subjected to persecution and numerous pogroms, though they had in no way harmed their Arab compatriots – unlike the Palestinian refugees, who fled in the wake of a war of annihilation that their leaders and the Arab regimes had waged.”
Right up until here I am with BESA all the way and see a good settlement argument forming because refugees are equal. They are victims and need the world’s help. But one group of refugees isn’t more deserving, or needs to be apologized to and/or for — because their leaders were more enlightened or more barbaric — that’s screwy pre WWI reparations logic and that’s what comes next in the BESA paper, surprisingly.
“As part of the recent Arab League summit in Jordan, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative was revived. It offers Israel normalization with the Arab and Muslim states in return for a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
So far so good.
“Not surprisingly, the statement issued by the summit demands concessions only of Israel. If, however, Jerusalem decides to enter peace talks on the basis of this plan, it must demand an explicit apology from the Arab states that expelled their Jewish citizens in the course of the conflict. Israel must further insist that these Jews be compensated for the loss of their earthly properties and for the suffering attending their expulsion.”
Apologies? Compensation? This is nonsense. Israel needs the right to populate settlements because they have Jewish refugees from the Arab world with needs, met and unmet, and the Arab world needs a homeland for the Palestinians because they are refugees also.
The failures of the leaders who created this mess cannot be a factor in the decision to fix it — such foolishness caused the holocaust in the first place.
“Over the course of history, countless peoples have afflicted the Jewish people. Some have apologized, and some have even tried to atone for their misdeeds. For example, the Portuguese and the Spanish have apologized for their persecution of Jews, and now offer passports to all Jews whose families were expelled from those countries, as far back as the Expulsion of 1492. The Germans, who annihilated one-third of the Jewish people, have apologized, signed a reparations agreement with the state of Israel, and compensated numerous Holocaust survivors.”
“In contrast, the Arab states are not only unwilling to pay compensation to those Jews they expelled, but refuse to acknowledge this atrocity in the first place. The time has come for these states and their leaders to own up to their misdeeds, apologize for this injustice, and compensate those whose property they stole.”
I think Israel has a right to demand that the Arab states sponsoring and/or signing such a two-state agreement do not have phrases demanding the destruction of Israel in their own constitutions, this would make sense. But an apology, reparations – acknowledgement of one particular version of history? JUST because the Germans did this? The Germans also tried to pay reparations after WWI and that didn’t end well — how and where do the Germans get in this example without it being a contradiction?
I thought the BESA conclusion to be tone deaf, written in a morally flippant manner, while also calling for an improbable series of events, this part of the BESA position needs work:
“Israel can help to redress an historical injustice if it makes it unequivocally clear that it will not sign an agreement on ending the conflict with the Palestinians and/or the Arab states until the issue of the Jewish refugees and their plundered property in the Arab countries is resolved.”
“As the state of the Jewish people, Israel has a supreme moral duty, along with a right anchored in international law, to demand that the Arab states compensate their past Jewish citizens for the assets and lands that were illegally and unjustifiably wrested from them.”
“Unfortunately, Israeli governments have thus far ignored this issue altogether. One can only hope that the current and future governments will come to their senses as soon as possible, since no solution for the Palestinian refugee problem is possible so long as justice is not served for the Jewish refugees from the Arab states.”