President Trump continues his success in foreign policy.
On December 6th, 2017, President Donald Trump took an unprecedented stance on the Middle Eastern conflict that is Israeli/Palestinian land dispute. For the first time, the President of the United States has formally recognized the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Since the establishment of Israel in 1948 the Israeli government has designated Jerusalem its capital. Much of the rest of the world has denied this fact as a means to appease Palestinians and groups like Hamas, which claim not only that Jerusalem is not the Israeli capital, but that the city is not legitimately Israeli land at all.
The denial of Israel’s capital and claims to much of its territory stems as far back as its establishment as a sovereign state, which in itself was a bloody conflict. The day after Israel’s establishment as a state almost every one of its neighbors invaded the country in an attempt to stamp out the newly founded Jewish state. The resulting conflict is known as the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Winning this war may have ensured Israel’s survival as a state, however, the resulting ceasefire did nothing to prevent future violence. The losing powers in this war still did not fully accept Israel’s right to exist in the region. Since then, conflict has reigned supreme, with hot wars breaking out multiple times in 1967 and 1973.
Looking back through the history of the conflicts in this region provides one with a better understanding of the current situation, and explains why it is so important how the United States treats Israel, and how it approaches the conflict. Most of these skirmishes over the past decades have not been about border disputes, but instead about Arab and Muslim majority countries denial of Israel’s right to exist. This has been proven by Israel’s willingness to cede territories such as the Sinai peninsula and the Gaza Strip. These territorial concessions have done nothing to stop attacks from the surrounding area, because as mentioned above the conflict is not about the territory Israel occupies, but rather its existence as a whole.
“The Jewish state stands athwart the Islamist views held by the Iranian government and other regional political entities.”
One of the Obama Administration’s biggest foreign policy sins, of which there were many, was drawing back the United States’ support for Israel and allowing Iran to grow it’s influence in the region. Iran’s Ayatollah is one of the worst offenders of condemning Israel for simply existing. In fact, Iran’s government not only denies Israel’s right to exist but it supports and advocates for its total destruction and annihilation. It is acceptable for an administration to attempt to bring both sides of a conflict together to attempt negotiations for peace. It is another thing entirely to actively allow a power to grow in the region that seeks to destroy a sovereign state.
This denial of Israel’s right to exist propagated by Iran and groups like Hezbollah and the Palestinian Liberation Organization stems from anti-semitism in the region. This feeling is fueled by the idea that the Israelis are occupying Arab lands and must be driven out by any means necessary. The Jewish state stands athwart the Islamist views held by the Iranian government and other regional political entities. In the past, Iran has supported these groups, in order to achieve their goal in dismantling Israel. Iran is the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror, and much of that ire is aimed at Israel. It is one of the biggest mistakes in modern foreign policy history to peel back our support for Israel and embolden its enemies through overtly generous deals and financial handouts.
I have not been afraid to criticize President Trump when I see fit, however, his statement last Wednesday was a breath of fresh air as far as foreign policy is concerned. He reaffirmed the United States’ outright support for Israel in announcing our embassy would be moved to Jerusalem, the rightful capital of Israel. The President also left the door open for negotiations, stating we are still open to discussions on a two state solution and that it is incumbent upon the parties involved to come to an agreement that would ensure peace between the peoples of the region. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement directly following President Trump’s announcement praising him for his courageous remarks. One can only hope that this trend of standing firm with our allies will continue and that American foreign policy will no longer be a list of empty promises and handouts to those who seek to destroy peace.
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