Like it or not, at least Israel is happy with Trump. Now, it’s time to wait and see where this leads, particularly with Iran and the Palestinians.
After 8 years of a rather frigid relationship between Israel and the US, Bibi Netanyahu has a lot to be happy about. It was all smiles on Wednesday as Trump, and Melania met with Bibi, and Sara at the White House. As a personal observation I have not seen Bibi smile this much since he was joking back and forth with Bill Clinton during a meeting the two had in Israel.
I voted for Netanyahu back in the 1996 elections and have continued to support him throughout his time as Prime Minister. The cause of the about face, and chummy relations is both overt and subtle. Much of what is stated or implied has gone a long way. Trump has also begun working with Egypt as well to garner support. Considering both have to be allies in the war on terror, I feel many have not fully grasped his view of the big picture.
Trump has publicly stated he is seriously considering moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. This rather symbolic gesture is a first for an American president. It secures the idea that Jerusalem is now and forever will be the capital of Israel. This of course has the whole Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement seething spittle over their keyboards. They will have no friends in this administration for the next four to eight years.
Trump has backed off the idea of forcing a two state solution. Regardless of what any other headlines tell you, they are not abandoning the idea. What this does mean is we are treating Israel like adults. We fully understand that their state security and well-being come before anything else. Israel can work with the Palestinians’ to find peace on their own terms, not ours. It is simply shocking to think that we might actually leave another country alone to let them sort things out on their own. The Obama administration wanted this legacy so badly, they became blinded to the idea that it is really none of our business if Israel has peace with its neighbors or not. Sure we can bring parties together, and allow them to try and hash out agreements, but ultimately it is up to them, not us.
In another move, Trump has suggested that other Arab states also be involved in the peace talks. This shows you how most of America, and Europe is playing checkers while Trump is playing 3-D Chess. Involving Israel’s neighbors like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt is a massive step to garner popular support, and curb Islamic radicals. Enlisting the help of Israeli friendly states will pressure Mahmoud Abbas to push back on Hamas and curb the violence.
In the give and take relationship Mr. Netanyahu also backed off the demand to tear up the Iran Nuclear deal. Following the harsh statements and initiation of new sanctions within 24 hours of Iran shooting off some long range missiles, Trump will keep his word. While the Obama administration had continually drawn lines in the proverbial sand, this administration takes action. This is a comfort to Bibi, and he no longer has to feel the need to nudge the U.S. into some sort of action.
While Israel has given blanket approval to current settlements within the last couple of weeks, Trump is urging Israel to hold off on pushing for more. Now that we hope to get everyone to a table to speak, taking inflammatory steps within the territories is not a balanced move. I do feel Bibi will heed this advice. Mr. Netanyahu knows that Trump will listen, and work together with Israel to stabilize the chaos in the Middle East.