Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party “Likud” approved the annexation of the occupied West Bank. The Likud Central Committee also made a call for building more settlement units. Gilad Erdan, the minister of public security in Israel, said that Trump’s presidency offers a big opportunity for the annexation of the West Bank.
It was clear that things would get to this point after Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The U.S.’s unconditional support for Israel is the biggest obstacle to peace. In an article he wrote in the New York Times in 2009, English historian Prof. Tony Judt, who is also of Jewish origin, said that the U.S. plays a big role on why Israel is drunk on the settlements. Prof. Judt stated that Israel spent the financial aid they had received from the U.S. on Jewish settlements in the West Bank. That means billions of dollars paid by the taxpayers in the U.S. were spent on settlements that are deemed illegal in international law instead of homeless people in the U.S. Judt also added that Israel blatantly ignored UN decisions telling them to retreat from the territories they occupied with the support of the U.S.
Prof. Judt said that the U.S.’s unconditional support stimulates Israel to act without thinking about the consequences. The number of Jewish people who think like Judt are not few. Indicating the dangers of the influence of the Jewish lobby in the U.S. cabinet, Israeli journalist Tom Segev said, “If the UN had protected itself from Israel, life would be better. The Israeli lobby in the UN damages the actual interests of Israel.”
Trump pleased the Jewish lobby and his Zionist donators by stating that he will move the Tel Aviv embassy to Jerusalem. This support pulls Israel away from peace and encouraged the Likud party to take an annexation decision for the West Bank. Trump tasked a delegation that includes his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner for peace talks. Jared, an Orthodox Jew, has been a devoted to Israel since his childhood. So is Trump’s Special Representative Jason Greenblatt. Another figure in the delegation is David Friedman, the U.S.’s Tel Aviv ambassador who is known for his support to Jewish settlers. One of Trump’s national security advisors, Dina Habib Powell, who is a Christian of Egyptian origin, is the black sheep of the delegation, if I may say so.
Known for his opposition to a two-state solution, Friedman’s close friendship with Jossi Dagan, who is one of the leading names of Jewish settlement policies in the West Bank, is not a secret. Dagan is the chairman of Friends of Judea and Samaria in the European Parliament. The group is working to prevent the EU from taking decisions against illegal settlements. According to the media, Friedman asked the U.S. State Department not to call the West Bank “occupied lands” in official correspondences. The department stated that Friedman’s behavior didn’t reflect their official stance. However, the department has already been neutralized by Trump. According to Friedman, Trump’s Jerusalem decision is as important as the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour’s letter in 1971, which promises lands to the Jews in Palestine.
The biggest compliment for the appointment of Friedman in Tel Aviv, who virtually acts like Israel’s diplomat, came from Morton Klein, the chairman of the Zionist Organization of America. Can this sort of a delegation conduct peace with the Palestinians? The delegation has been travelling back and forth in the region, but the details of the peace plan are still being kept secret. Everyone can see that as long as the unconditional support of the U.S. continues, Israel agreeing to a fair and permanent peace for Palestinians is no more than a fantasy.