July 24, 2017

Sharp Drop in Israeli Trust of Trump

20 May 2017, 02:42 | Darnell Patrick

Sharp Drop in Israeli Trust of Trump

Sharp Drop in Israeli Trust of Trump

Israel also had the promise that Mr. Trump would finally fulfill that which every previous administration had failed to complete: moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "The Arabs don't want us here, so there will be one war after another till they accept us", a Jewish friend in Jerusalem once explained to me. This message, however, needs to be made loud and clear to our Palestinian neighbors.

Elsewhere in the holy city, claimed as their capital by both the Israelis and the Palestinians, thousands of police and troops will safeguard the USA leader. The Palestinians also warn that such a step would unleash a great wave of violence. On Wednesday evening, less than a week before Trump arrived in Israel, administration officials confirmed to CNN that the embassy would stay where it is - at least for now - as Trump pursued a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

Senior officials at the State Department and Defense Department had recently demanded that Trump prevent the relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem and had even asked the White House not to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, claiming it would harm the peace process. These settlements are considered illegal by the global community.

Private jets from Israel usually have to land in Amman for several minutes to get an approved flight plan, the Israeli newspaper reported.

OREN: Well, for almost eight years, we were bogged down with Palestinian preconditions - Israel had to free prisoners; Israel had to freeze building here and there - and we never got to negotiations.

Despite Trump's best intentions, there is no indication that the Palestinians' position has changed. "On the contrary, it would advance it by correcting an historical injustice and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel". But Trump, a real estate magnate before he was president, promised - arrogantly and naively in the eyes of many - to broker a "deal" in the conflict which he described as "maybe not as hard as people have thought over the years".

Quite simply put, there is never a wrong time to do what is right, just and moral.

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Meanwhile, a celebration at the Capitol marking the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification drew top Congress members from both parties. Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, the United States as well as the worldwide community, consider the wall and the entire area to be occupied territory. Tellingly, an enraged ex-Mossad chief openly called for Israel to punish Trump by refusing to provide such intelligence in the future. It is mentioned more than 850 times in the Bible, yet not even once in the Koran.

Despite the talk about Trump not following through with his plans for the move, it is contended that his upcoming trip would be the flawless setting to push it forward - just a few months after Obama refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital ... a few days before leaving office.

"It was going to be challenging for both sides separate from the intelligence gaffe", said Lara Friedman, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.

"There is a question mark about his stance concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict and I think that's the most interesting question for Israelis", he says, speaking to Newsweek by phone. "Refusal to recognize Jerusalem is anti-Semitic". Pending that, however, the United States should not wait, - it should lead, refusing to let its actions be dictated by terrorists. It would also force the Palestinians to take a more pragmatic stand to demonstrate their commitment to peace, starting with an end to incitement and payments to terrorists and their families.

Trump's trip, which begins Friday (May 19), reflects the president's belief "that we all have to be united and we have to be joined together with an agenda of tolerance and moderation", according to national security adviser H.R. McMaster. National Security Adviser HR McMaster added to the controversy when he refused to say whether the Western Wall was a part of Israel.

"This guy in his heart and soul is very pro-Israel in a serious way", he said, naming among other appointments Nikki Haley, the outspoken USA ambassador to the United Nations.

Arsen Ostrovsky is an global human rights lawyer.

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