Letters: Trump's Middle East trip a triumph
- Author: Leroy Wright May 31, 2017,
May 31, 2017, 10:27
Daniel Douek teaches comparative politics and global relations at Concordia University and McGill University.
To the White House, Trump's first trip overseas was an embodiment of the promises he made as a candidate to put America's interests first and break through the guardrails that have long defined us foreign policy.
In what appeared to be a veiled sleight to former US President Barack Obama, with whom Netanyahu had a hard relationship, the prime minister praised Trump for his "bold decision to act against the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and I want to tell you also how much we appreciate the reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East", NBC News reported.
This would represent a notable gain by Trump in his bid to restart peace talks, as Abbas until now has set preconditions for a return to peace talks, including an Israeli freeze on settlement building. The direct route that Air Force One took in transporting Trump from Riyadh to Tel Aviv symbolizes the axis that a consistent USA policy in the region could promote.
"The U.S.is now paying much more than any other nation and that is not fair to the United States or the United States taxpayer". Trump received multiple standing ovations - one of his favorite measures of success - during a speech on US relations with Israel.
"We liberated Jerusalem, we made it one city, imperfect but whole", Netanyahu told Knesset members at a special plenum for Jerusalem Day marking 50 years since the reunification of the capital during the Six Day War.
In the last few days, 70 of the prisoners have been moved to civilian hospitals due to a serious deterioration in their health conditions. In this respect, Donald Trump is much more decisive about pressuring Tehran and showing his solidarity with Israel than his predecessor, Barack Obama.
The Palestinian press was equally skeptical, especially about Netanyahu's comments to Trump that "Israel also shares the commitment to peace that you expressed". This does not bode well.
The papers printed pictures of Israeli forces cracking down on Palestinian protesters against the parade, which was described by Amnesty International as a violation of international law and Palestinian rights, according to al-Ayyam. Trump delivered a speech across the street from parliament at Jerusalem's Israel Museum. This at a time when the two sides are as far from a deal as they have ever been since 1993, when they first began negotiating.
Before meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for dinner May 22, Trump publicly stated, "I believe that a new level of partnership is possible and will happen-one that will bring greater safety to this region ..." Netanyahu would prefer to undermine any initiatives by setting embarrassing conditions for Abbas, especially forcing him to make certain declarations, conditions for which Netanyahu could mobilize sufficient Israeli public support and thereby place the ball in the Palestinians' court.
Taken against the backdrop of a roiling investigation back home into possible collusion between Mr. Trump's campaign and Russian Federation, this opportunity for him to appear statesmanlike must be a welcome reprieve from America's domestic politics. Under a 2016 agreement, Washington already bankrolls its Israeli ally's military spending to the tune of $3.8 billion dollars annually over 10 years, making the Jewish state the top recipient of U.S. assistance.