There are no allies who should let their guard down with a Trump administration.
While the belief is that a Republican administration would always be more accommodating to the nation of Israel, having a lifelong liberal con man assume the role of “Republican” then take over the presidency is a new twist.
Trump is no friend to Israel. Certainly, he’s an improvement for U.S.-Israel relations than President Obama was, but how much so remains to be seen.
Obama was openly hostile to Israel and to Benjamin Netanyahu. That much is not in dispute.
Trump presents a warm façade, but blindsided the Israeli prime minister during a joint press conference earlier in 2017, when he turned to him and asked him to stop building settlements on the west bank, in the name of “peace,” putting the leader in an awkward position.
Trump’s budget also calls for giving more foreign aid to Palestine – money they use to pay to the families of terrorists who would attack Israel and murder Israeli citizens – while considering pressing Israel to return millions in aid.
Now, a new report is alleging that during last month’s United Nations General Assembly, President Trump’s conversation with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres characterized Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel as a bigger obstacle to peace than the Palestinians and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
A Western diplomat who had been briefed on the meeting told the publication Trump had acknowledged both leaders were being “problematic,” but the Israeli leader was “the bigger problem.
However, a White House official disputed the meeting, telling Haaretz, “This was a short but productive meeting that primarily focused on U.N. reforms and the great job [U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki] Haley has been doing. After discussing the United States’ defense of Israel at the U.N., the participants quickly addressed the ongoing peace conversations.”
“The president said that he feels both sides want to make peace and he remains optimistic about an enduring peace deal. We are focusing on our productive conversations and not on the noise created by spoilers,” the official continued.
Notice, there’s no denial that Trump made the comments about Netanyahu.
“The president said that he feels both sides want to make peace and he remains optimistic about an enduring peace deal. We are focusing on our productive conversations and not on the noise created by spoilers.”
To get a real feel for Trump’s grasp on the tensions between Palestine and Israel, note that he once tweeted out that fixing Obamacare was more difficult than achieving peace in the Middle East.
That, and he’s taken his hands off of the conflict and tasked an adviser, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, with “achieving peace in the Middle East.”
Said Trump, while speaking with Netanyahu last month:
“We’re going to be discussing many things, among them a peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis, a fantastic achievement,” Trump said.
An “achievement” is something that has already happened, so that was another example of Trump’s poor grasp on both vocabulary and reality.
“We are giving it an absolute go. I think there’s a good chance it could happen. Most people would say there is no chance it could happen. … Israel would like to see it. Palestinians would like to see it. I can tell the Trump administration would like to see it. We’re working very hard. We’ll see what happens. Historically people say it can’t happen. I’d say it can happen,” he continued.
I’m sure both sides would like to see peace. The problem is, what is the definition for “peace” to Israel and Palestine looks entirely different, and that’s the part Trump seems oblivious to.