Feb 5, 2017

the positives from Trump's press release on Israeli settlements

on Thursday, President of the United States Donald Trump released a press release, in response to the announcement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the building of a new community in Judea and Samaria along with the beginning of construction of thousands of new homes in existing communities in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria..

People, and especially the press, began touting Trump's press release in the form of Trump saying no to settlements, Trump turning his back on Israel, etc.

Here is the actual text of the press release from the Whitehouse website:
Statement by the Press Secretary
“The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years. While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal. As the President has expressed many times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region. The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month.”

There are a couple of points I would make from reading this press release:

1. Trump did a full turn from the policy of previous US presidents by saying "we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace".
Trump is fine with the settlements, in general. That is new. Israel now has US recognition of the settlements as basically being ok and not a contradiction to peace efforts.

2. his criticism of the announcement is that new settlements "may not be helpful". nothing definitive there.

3. "the Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions..".. nothing definitive there, and nothing that shuts Israel down and rejects settlements or turns Israel away or puts a divide between Israel and the United States (under Trump).

Will it happen at some point? It might. Anything can happen with Donald Trump, in the blink of an eye. One day he can be a friend and the next he can be upset at something Israel did or did not do, said or did not say and then oppose whatever Israel does or wants to do. We are not yet there.

I think Donald Trump is simply letting Israel know that he is still in charge and Israel cannot just go do whatever it wants and expect full support from Trump. he is saying, take a breath, take it easy, let's wait until we meet later in the month and coordinate things and figure this out. I think this press release shows not what was portrayed by the media but that Trump is changing US policy on Israel and the settlements, but Israel cannot just go do whatever it wants.

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1 comment:

  1. Actually I agree with the Israel Matzav blog in that Trump was saying "Don't announce that you're going to be building and then don't. Just go and do it.".


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