It is quite astonishing how many of the promises that Pres.Trump made during his election campaign are beginning to be fulfilled within his first two weeks in office. For example, the removal of Obamacare, the building of the wall on the Mexican border, changes in the immigration laws and the ban on entry of citizens of certain Muslim nations where there is terrorism and reduction in Government regulations. He has also proposed to cut US Government spending to the UN and its agencies. But, notably in relation to Israel three promises have so far been disappointed:
- Moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. There are signs that his firm promise to move the Embassy is not being fulfilled. So far no positive action has taken place except for a statement by Trump that the matter is “complicated.” This is diplomatic code for the State Department telling him that there are more negatives than positives for the US if this move is made, such as anti-American reaction in the Arab-Muslim world. It’s the old argument, that it is better to heed the threats of the Arabs/Muslims than do what is right. In other word, Trump is bowing to intimidation like all his predecessors.
- Supporting settlement growth. After Pres. Trump’s inauguration the Israel Government announced plans to build several thousand new homes in existing settlements, and recently PM Netanyahu announced plans for the construction of the first new settlement on the West Bank in 28 years! But, once again, although there was initially no strong negative reaction against settlement construction as there was with Obama, finally a Trump spokesman came out and criticized these plans and said they would make the “two-state solution more difficult.” Exactly the phrase used by Obama. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
- The Iranian nuclear deal. Trump said he would cancel the Iran nuclear deal that he described as a “very bad deal.” But, he hasn’t done anything about this, and probably it is impossible to cancel such a treaty arrived at with other countries. However, Trump’s spokesman has stated that Iran has violated the UN Security Council resolution regarding the development of ballistic missiles, and has indicated that they will consider new sanctions against Iran in conjunction with Congress. Well half a loaf…
It is too early to say that these promises by Trump have been definitively shelved. Only time will tell, but the initial reaction is disappointing. However, we still await the appointment of the new US Ambassador to Israel and PM Netanyahu’s first visit to the White House in a few weeks. But, Trump is known to be a deal-maker and he has said the resolution of the Middle East conflict between Israel and the Arabs would be the ultimate deal for him. If he intends to follow the same old “two-stat solution” as he seems to be doing, he will inevitably be frustrated and will almost certainly fail. One would expect fresh thinking from Pres. Trump.