OPN 200221 Trump and Netanyahu-2-1582282061670
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up a signed proclamation with US President Donald Trump. Image Credit:

US President Donald Trump continues his repeated attempts to win American Jewish and Evangelical Christians votes, which are politically important to him in the upcoming presidential election. He reiterates publicly that “the Jewish state has never had a better friend than Donald Trump in the White House”.

Indeed, since he assumed the presidency Trump succeeded in changing American Middle East policy in favour of Israel, recognising [occupied] Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, transferring the American embassy to the Holy city from Tel Aviv. Moreover, he endorsed Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and most recently he agreed to Israeli plans to annex the northern Jordan Valley and all colonies (known as Jewish “settlements”) built in the occupied West Bank since 1967.

Despite repeatedly saying that he is the best American friend of Israel, to which the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agrees, many American and Israeli analysts believe otherwise, and even some of them considered Trump an enemy of Israel. So here, we are facing a “new threat” to the Zionist state.

More significant perhaps is the fact that Trump’s plan was condemned by 107 Democrats in the US Congress, who warned that “the plan threatens to renew violence in Israel and the occupied territories, as well as the peace treaties between Israel and Jordan and Egypt

- As’ad Abdul Rahman

Jackson Diehl, a foreign affairs editor in the Washington Post recently wrote: “With Trump tearing the second great commitment of the presidents toward Israel, which is ensuring that American support for the Jewish state remains strong and from both parties, his strong embrace of Netanyahu and his agenda based on the “annexation” has isolated him from the most pro-Israel Democrats”.

He went on to say: “The services provided to Israel aim to help Trump’s re-election by mobilising evangelical Christians and causing division among Democrats. It does not matter if that would weaken the United States’ long-term support for Israel more than it strengthens it.” He concludes: “It may take years before the potential truth emerges: Trump has harmed Israel more than any American president before him.”

The Foreign Policy magazine website published a joint article by the eminent Professor Avner Cohen, with Jason Blazakis, a well-known researcher where they said that “the corrupt relationship between Trump and Netanyahu poses a threat to their countries.”

Corrupt alliance

They added: “The consequences of this corrupt alliance go beyond the current personal and political needs of the two leaders as it constitutes a devastating legacy for the United States as well as for Israelis and Palestinians alike”. They concluded: “The unfairness of the Trump peace plan is a clear endorsement of the settlement [colony] project of the extreme right-wing similar to apartheid system and legitimising it with an American seal ... This undoubtedly leaves both Israel and the United States less safe.”

Joe Biden, the former US vice-president, also weighed in: “It is not possible to take unilateral decisions to annex occupied lands and to take us back. I spent my life working to provide security and prosperity for the Jewish state in order to live as a democratic state. And what Trump is doing is not good for Israel.”

More significant perhaps is the fact that Trump’s plan was condemned by 107 Democrats in the US Congress, who warned that “the plan threatens to renew violence in Israel and the occupied territories, as well as the peace treaties between Israel and Jordan and Egypt.” The Democratic representatives considered that the plan “paves the way for a permanent occupation of the West Bank and will harm Palestinians and Israelis alike.”

The same conclusions were also reached by prominent Israelis: Shimon Sheves, a former director-general of the Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s Office was unequivocal: “The repercussions are difficult on the road. The deal of the century is an agreement between Israel and the United States, not an agreement between Israel, the Palestinians, and the Arab countries. Discussions about a settlement or deal cannot take place unilaterally, because it will lead to unilateral steps and from there to chaos.”

He predicted: “We are heading towards an escalation, and then towards the annexation of three million other Palestinians living in the West Bank, who will be citizens of a bi-national state, and what is meant is the end of the Jewish democratic state and the beginning of the apartheid state.

The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper correspondent Orly Azoulay echoed the sentiment: “Trump is not the best president that Israel has known, he is bad for Israel. This is not a surprise ... In the end, he is harming Israel.”

US land grab declaration, a bitter joke

Remarkably, in a revealing article, Gideon Levy, known as a fearless political commentator, explained how “Trump is one of the most dangerous enemies for Israel, as he does everything in his power to corrupt it and makes the enlightened world hate it more."

It is difficult to think of a more bitter joke than the (declaration) of the United States which considered that usurpation (land grabbing) does not break the law, and the road is paved for it. Will usurpation turn into a more legal and more ethical matter?

“Of course no”, Levy went on to note: “No important international jurist approves of the declaration of the United States. Even now, no politician in the world, except for the right-wingers in Israel and the United States, will agree to this declaration. The intellectual intimacy between the Trump administration and Israel is another thing we should be ashamed of.”

Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman is the Chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopedia

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