Trump and Israel, for Better or for Worse

Trump and Israel, for Better or for Worse

Maddy Avni, Staff Writer

On the eighth of November of last year, Israel was one of distressingly few countries to find joy in the election of Donald Trump to the United States presidential office. The Trump presidency may spell new beginnings for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in terms of U.S.-Israeli relations. Past president Barack Obama and Netanyahu were not the best of friends, to say the least, but it is quite possible that Mr. Trump will be able to turn over a new leaf with Israel.

During Trump’s campaign, he made many sweeping statements about his plan for the Middle East. Through all his grandeur and claims of being “the best thing that could happen to Israel,” it was difficult at times to uncover his actual intentions and ideas. However, in the later stages of the campaign, two clear directives emerged from the Trump team: to slow Israeli settlement in Palestinian areas, and to move the U.S. Embassy to the city of Jerusalem. Both of these goals could potentially cause violent reactions in the area. However, the Embassy move has been pushed for by Netanyahu for some time, and stopping Israeli settlement is recognized by many to be a prerequisite to any future Israeli-Palestinian peace procedures. While these ideas may seem incendiary to some, they harbored at least some promise.

Now that President Trump has taken office, it seems as though the reality of the Middle East situation has finally hit him. For one, his team retracted their enthusiasm for moving the Embassy relatively quickly and is now denying that it is possible to do in the near future. Trump is still activating for a slowing or even a complete stall of the settlements, however. Even though this stance puts pressure on PM Netanyahu, he seemingly encourages it. This is not uncommon in terms of past PMs’ strategies.

So far, it seems like Trump and Israel are playing nice. The White House has been adamant about the importance of bringing about peace talks for the region. If this pattern continues, U.S.-Israel relations and maybe even Israel-Palestine relations could see improvement within the coming years.