Raising the Standard at UGA since 2013.

When it Comes to Israel, Trump Inspires Optimism

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seen here with current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, has high hopes for the future of US-Israel relations under the Trump Administration. Photo courtesy of the US Dept. of State via Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/statephotos/32063904794

Since its inception in 1948, Israel has relied on its American allies in order to survive the complex, anarchic, and anti-Zionist geographical area in which it resides. The Obama Administration, however, transformed the stability of this dependable friendship with International Governmental Organizations such as the United Nations. The international community, especially the Obama Administration, viewed Israeli settlement policy to be the main obstacle to peace between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. A report by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an American-based human rights organization that specializes in combatting anti-Semitism and teaching the lasting lessons of the Holocaust, opines, saying that “the most stunning 2016 U.N. attack on Israel was facilitated by President Obama when the U.S. abstained on a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel for settlement construction.” This claim by the Wiesenthal Center is indicative of the U.S.-Israel relationship under the Obama Administration.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s administration is working overtime to completely reverse the deterioration of the U.S.-Israel relationship. President Trump hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 15, 2017. Here, the two leaders focused on reaffirming the U.S.-Israel relationship and on handling the threat of Iran as a nuclear power. Both countries have been at the forefront of physical counter-terrorism and counter-terrorism intelligence in the Middle East, reliant on the United States respecting Israel’s sovereignty. President Trump remarked earlier this year, that “our security assistance to Israel is currently at an all-time high, ensuring that Israel has the ability to defend itself…we have a long history of cooperation in the fight against terrorism.” President Trump, additionally, re-emphasized the necessity to counter anti-Israel bias within the United Nations Human Rights Council, an institution that the President recently threatened.  

The United Nations was established to promote global peace, human dignity, and freedom in the international system. According to the Washington D.C.-based Freedom House, “more than half the U.N.’s 193 members states are only partly free, or not free at all.” Israel’s growing international reputation eases America’s diplomatic burden of spreading democratic, Western values.

Israel is, perhaps not surprisingly, currently the most progressive democracy in the Middle East, a region devastated by authoritarians, theocrats, and radical terrorism. Israel’s advancements in human rights and technology significantly benefit the United States. The Bloomberg Innovation Index ranks the Israeli economy first in the Middle East and fifth in the world—higher even than the United States. This figure is especially impressive given that the nation is less than 70 years old. Technology companies typically have offices in both Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv because “developers in Israel working for Apple, Microsoft, and Google are the brains behind the best and most sophisticated products these companies offer.”

The United States and Israel do not only share economic goals and cooperation, but also seek to further democratic causes around the world. Under the Trump Administration, corporate tax reforms will allow American corporations to foster investment in Research & Development, which is statistically the strongest aspect of Israel’s business industry. This additional investment will further link American and Israeli economies. American citizens are often exposed to Israeli products without any knowledge of the fact. Yet “more Israeli companies are traded on the NASDAQ than any country after the United States and China.”

Republican lawmakers, including Senators Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and Tom Cotton have recently introduced the Taylor Force Act. This legislation’s goal is to threaten the Palestinian Authority with adjusted appropriated funds unless they (according to the Act) “publicly condemn such acts of violence…to bring the perpetrators to justice…has terminated payments for acts of terrorism against United States and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been imprisoned after being fairly tried and convicted for such acts of terrorism and to any individual who died committing such acts of terrorism, including to a family member of such individuals.Senator Lindsey Graham, in particular, strongly believes in this legislation and has immense faith that it will be signed into law by President Trump upon passage from Congress.  

The United States strategically provides the Palestinian Authority with assistance while also maintaining its extensive cooperation with Israel. The United States, in fiscal year 2017, will provide the Palestinian Authority (PA) with $327.6 million via an economic support fund. This amount is significantly higher than the $112.6 million via the economic support fund and the $119.7 million in overseas contingency operations that the PA received in fiscal year 2016. In contrast, the European Union, comprised of 28 member states, provided funding of € 291.1 million (roughly $309.2 million) in fiscal year 2016. The United States seeks bipartisan negotiation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority; however, the complexities of negotiation are not limited to Israeli and Palestinian aspirations, which have stalled the process for over a decade. The 2005 Disengagement from Gaza and North Samaria plan proved a failure as the terrorist organization, Hamas, took military control of the Gaza strip in 2007. The United States, under President Trump, views peaceful negotiations to be possible when both parties are willing to acknowledge each other’s presence under the “two-state” solution.

President Trump, as an expert business negotiator, has the opportunity to finally negotiate the “two-state” solution that leads both parties to peace. The peace process is possible as long as both parties acknowledge each other’s presence, end hostile policies that act as obstacles, and cooperate to end the hatred between them. It is not unlikely to expect that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, under the mediation of President Trump, will negotiate avenues to peace by the end of 2018. President Trump has emphasized the importance of Israeli-Palestinian stability, given that radical Islamic terrorism is destroying the Middle East. Stabilization of the Middle East can only begin once Israel’s neighbors recognize its right to exist and once the Palestinian people are given their own sovereign state.

– Mitchell Nemeth is a Senior studying finance. He is a Hasbara Fellow, President of Young Americans for Liberty at UGA, and a regular contributor to THE ARCH CONSERVATIVE.


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