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Posts tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Support for Israel ‘continues to drop’ among US liberals, youth

In February 2017, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked expressed concern about “decreasing support for Israel in the Democratic party”, telling her Jewish American audience that the problem was “a strategic issue” for Israel.

“I couldn’t sleep after I saw a poll two weeks ago”, she added.

A new US poll on the same topic will not help Shaked rest easy. The results indicate that key trends identified in recent years show no signs of slowing; Israel’s reputation is deteriorating among demographics such as Democrats, younger voters, African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Read more

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Trump’s assault on UNRWA is an assault on Palestinian refugees

Over the weekend, Israeli television reported that the US administration is planning to escalate its attacks on Palestinian refugees by not only explicitly rejecting their right of return but also by unilaterally redefining who constitutes a refugee so as to slash their numbers to just half a million.

Since then, US diplomat Nikki Haley has affirmed the US would only support the Palestinian refugees’ relief agency UNRWA if the organisation were to “change the number of refugees to an accurate account”.

It is now being reported that the Trump administration has decided to cancel all US funding to UNRWA. Read more

Why Trump is wrong to cut funding to the UN agency which looks after Palestinian refugees

As with the decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, US President Donald Trump surely had his electoral base in mind when deciding to slash funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which looks after Palestinian refugees.

Trump’s decision, however, can not be divorced from a long-standing Israeli animus towards the agency, whose current difficulties have been broadly welcomed by Israeli politicians – including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli officials and pro-Israel groups make two main arguments in their attacks on UNRWA: Palestinian refugees are “fake” and the UN agency “perpetuates” the conflict. Read more

The Palestinians can undermine US-Saudi designs and rescue their national struggle

If the Oslo Accords gave birth to a Palestinian Authority without authority, then Donald Trump’s “ultimate deal” looks set to offer the Palestinians a state without statehood.

The potential spoilers are the Palestinian people themselves. The protests over recent days are an indication of the potential impact of popular mobilisation, and its ability to undermine US – and Saudi – plans for an “ultimate deal” that will ride roughshod over inalienable Palestinian rights. Read more

Why is Trump moving on Jerusalem now?

In comparison to the focus on opposition to the move and its possible ramifications, relatively little has been said about why Donald Trump’s administration has decided to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and signal its intent to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

For example, one widely-shared piece of analysis does not really answer the question in its title, namely, “Why is Trump undoing decades of US policy on Jerusalem?”

I believe there are three main reasons, none of which are mutually exclusive. Read more

This week a world leader much worse than Donald Trump is visiting the UK – but I don’t see any protest from MPs

That US President Donald Trump has not yet made an official visit to the UK is down to the entirely justifiable opposition such a prospect provokes.

Here is a man who ran a racist election campaign and brought hard-right nationalists into the corridors of power, who has open contempt for treaties and bodies like the United Nations.

Yet this week, Theresa May will welcome to London another world leader about whom the exact same – and much more – can be said: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Read more

Debunking Israel’s UN-bias claims

Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the United Nations, made headlines in June when she denounced what she claimed was a pattern of “anti-Israel” behaviour at the UN.

“I have never taken kindly to bullies, and the UN has bullied Israel for a very long time,” she said. “We are not going to let that happen any more. It is a new day for Israel in the United Nations.”

While Haley’s words were music to Israeli leaders’ ears and echoed long-standing talking points of pro-Israel advocacy groups, analysts say there is little substance to her allegations that, in the words of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Israel has been “the UN’s punching bag”. Read more

Demographics and Democrats: Brand Israel’s big problems ahead

When David Friedman was sworn in two weeks ago as US ambassador to Israel, all went smoothly. The afternoon event was a straightforward affair; children and grandchildren were in attendance, and US Vice President Mike Pence hailed the bankruptcy lawyer as “literally … born for this job”.

But the bonhomie and ceremonial formalities could not mask the fact that this had been no ordinary nomination or ambassadorial appointment. In fact, Friedman’s Senate confirmation hearing was both an unprecedented affair and a microcosm of trends that spell big trouble for “brand Israel”. Read more

Trump and Palestine – so what now?

Before Donald Trump’s inauguration, it was a safe bet to assume that his administration’s approach to Israel and the Palestinians would either be one of relative neglect, or serve as a boost to the far-right Israeli nationalists who seek annexation of all or parts of the West Bank.

Either, of course, would spell trouble for the Palestinians. So far, and particularly after Trump’s meeting this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it would appear to be a combination of the two. Read more

The subordination of Palestinian rights must stop

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is in dire straits but observers differ on whether the framework of negotiations towards a two-state solution is in poor health, comatose or dead.

The arrival of Donald Trump in the White House, along with an Israeli government and opposition that are either explicitly opposed to Palestinian statehood, ambivalent or believe it is not the right time, are all further evidence of an era of uncertainty and danger. But there is also an opportunity for a rethink by the international community about how they relate to Israel and Palestinians. And it is vital that any new approach must end the subordination of Palestinian rights. Read more