Trump and Israel

Since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency, his administration has shown support for Israel and a desire to strengthen relations. Along with many other things, the Trump administration has moved the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, reduced aid to Palestinians, and proposed the Deal of the Century, an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

On December 6, 2017, President Trump announced the United States recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the movement of the US embassy. This was done to strengthen Israel’s legitimacy and to “reaffirm America’s historic alliance with the only free nation in the Middle East” as stated by Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State. Though this action was praised by the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, it was rejected by many world leaders. The next day an emergency meeting was held by the United Nations Security Council where fourteen out of fifteen members condemned the Trump administration’s action, however, the motion was vetoed by the United States. Trump’s action also caused the end of peace talks between the United States and Palestine. 

The Trump administration also cut aid to Palestine. In 2018, 200 million dollars in humanitarian and development aid was cut to pressure Palestinian officials into a peace deal with Israel. The United States also announced that they would no longer give money to the United Nations agency running schools and hospitals for Palestinian refugees, amounting to a 300 million dollar cut. Palestinian officials have stated that these aid cuts will only push peace talks further away.

Trump is also very interested in his Deal of the Century, a plan to create Middle Eastern peace. The deal includes plans for the development of the Gaza Strip, a two-state solution for Israel, and many undisclosed plans for other parts of the region. Though Israel has shown great enthusiasm for the plan, many Middle Eastern states have rejected the proposal, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The plan, which was announced in 2017, has not made much progress and seems to have been left behind by the Trump administration. 

Israel will likely remain an important issue for Trump though his presidency. It will be interesting to see how the Deal of the Century will play out and if the cuts to aid will eventually move the Palestinians to peace talks. Overall, Trump’s movement towards reasserting the United States power and influence in the Middle East will have major effects on the world stage and relations with Israel.

– Sarah Swasey ’20


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