Image: US Presidents Bush, Obama and Clinton, Official White House Photo by Pete Souza (Public Domain).
The evolution of U.S. President Donald Trump’s stance on the Palestinian issue reflects extrication from the conventional wisdom that was embraced by his predecessors and the State Department establishment, academia, and the media, even as it systematically crashed against the rocks of Middle Eastern reality.
In contrast to his predecessors, Trump and his advisors — National Security Advisor John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Special Emissary Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador David Friedman — have concluded that the bolstering of U.S. national security, morality, and common sense behooves the U.S. to take a realistic — and not an artificially neutral — position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Moral equivalence has not advanced national security.
The timing of the official release of President Trump’s policy — the eve of the 9/11 Memorial of the 3,000 fatalities and 6,000 injured — underlines the awareness that advancing national and homeland security mandates a clear differentiation between entities which combat terrorism systematically and effectively (e.g. the U.S. and Israel) on the one hand, and those who produce, train, educate, and incite terrorists (e.g. the Palestinian leadership, Iran’s Ayatollahs, and other Islamic regimes) on the other hand.
Unlike his predecessor at the White House, Trump and his advisors realize that the restoration of America’s posture of deterrence is a precondition to the enhancement of its national and homeland security, requiring the fending off — rather than succumbing to — pressure, threats, and terrorism. Hence, the disavowal of the self-defeating 2015 Iran Deal, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State, and the restructuring of U.S. policy on the Palestinian issue.
In contrast to his predecessors and to European policy-makers, President Trump and his advisors are cognizant of the well-documented fact that the Palestinian issue has not been a core cause of Middle East turbulence, nor a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers (who shower the Palestinians with talk but not walk), nor a root-cause of Islamic terrorism and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The President is aware of the unprecedented commercial and security cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the Arab Gulf States, Jordan, and Egypt, who have viewed the Palestinians as an unreliable, subversive, terrorist, and junior league element in the Middle East.
Contrary to his predecessors — since the 1993 Israel-PLO Oslo Accord — Trump has concluded that a Palestinian state would add fuel — not water — to the Middle East fire; would be the straw that would break the back of the pro-U.S. Hashemite regime in Jordan thereby transforming Jordan into another major platform of Islamic terrorism, posing a lethal threat to its southern neighbor Saudi Arabia and other pro-U.S. regimes in the Arabian Peninsula. It could provide a tailwind to the anti-U.S. Ayatollah’s imperial vision; would expand the Russian presence (ground, air, and naval) in the eastern Mediterranean and western Middle East; and would therefore deal a severe blow to U.S. national and homeland security.
Departing from political-correctness, Trump has decided to abort the sham of UNRWA, which does not operate in accordance with the patterns of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR). While the 11,500 employees of the UNHCR have resettled some 100 million refugees throughout the globe since the end of the Second World War, the 30,000 employees of UNRWA have artificially increased the number of Palestinian refugees from 320,000 at the end of the 1948/49 War to a supposed 5 million in 2018, sucking mega-billions of dollars, while intensifying hate-education and terrorism which have doomed the pursuit of peace.
President Trump’s Palestinian policy also reflects recognition of Israel as a credible and systematic ally, constituting a most effective and deterring outpost in an extremely critical and volatile region, and thus sparing the U.S. the need to deploy additional ground, air, and naval forces to the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea, producing a unique rate-of-return — commercially and militarily — on America’s annual investment in Israel.
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is the director of The Ettinger Report: Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative Click here to read more of this author’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.