A New Vison for US-Israel Relations

by

Thursday, October 1, 2020


In the lame-duck period of the Obama administration, President Obama donated $221 million to the Palestinian Authority. At the same time, the U.S. delegation to the United Nations abstained in a Security Council Resolution which would add an end to Israeli settlements. 

The Trump Administration, on the other hand, has taken the upper-hand in re-establishing U.S.-Israel relations. Even though then-candidate Donald Trump initially pledged “not to take sides” on the Israel-Palestine conflicts during the GOP Presidential primary, he has now been one of the strongest advocates for Israel’s right to exist. 

Israel was one of the first countries Trump visited as President (along with Saudi Arabia and the Vatican), while his journey from Riyadh to Tel Aviv marked the first-ever direct flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel. His most significant accomplishment in the first half of his first term in office, however, was his declaration to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Above all, this move signified one thing: that Jerusalem has been, is and will always be the capital of Israel. 

Apart from this recognition, President Trump also recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, with the Israeli government naming a settlement in the area Ramat Trump (Trump Heights). Furthermore, pulling out of the JSPOA (aka “Iran Deal”) was a move praised by the Israeli government. 

The Trump administration has also been a strong advocate for Israel in the UN, mainly through the courage and determination of Ambassador Nikki Haley. Ambassador Haley was one of the first officials to call out UN bias against Israel with her most significant move being the departure of the U.S. from the UN Human Rights Council. This organization, which was tasked with defending Human Rights, was composed of some of the most corrupt Human Rights violators such as Cuba, China, Saudia Arabia and Venezuela and spent more time singling out Israel than any other country, including Iran, Syria and North Korea. 

However, the most significant achievement of the Trump Administration to date has been its ability to broker a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. This has been the first time that Israel establishes ties with an Arab nation it does not share a border, while the two countries will work together in fields such as education, healthcare, energy, trade and security. With Dubai and Tel Aviv being financial hubs, talks have merged between the two countries in order to establish direct flights over Saudi Arabian air space. Speaking about Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom cautiously welcomed the peace deal between the UAE and Israel with President Trump expecting Saudi Arabia and eventually even Iran to follow. The Israeli government, in turn, expects the nations of Bahrain and Oman also to normalize relations with Israel.  Opposition to this deal, however, has come from the Palestinian Authority, Iran and Erdogan’s Turkey. 

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, significant momentum for an agreement began when Israel did not go forward with annexing West Bank territories on July 1 as was initially promised by PM Netanyahu. Should Israel, however, decide to move forward with the annexation, the Emirati government indicated that the deal “will immediately stop.” Therefore in order for the agreement to succeed and from more countries to follow suit, Israel ought to reconsider any plans for annexation, something that has also been condemned by many western leaders

In the extremely turbulent year of 2020, with a coronavirus pandemic raging in every single country and with a militant Iran and Turkey making threats left right and center, peace is something that is needed now more than ever. The Camp David Accords brought peace between Israel and Egypt in 1978, while the Oslo accords in the early 1990s established the recognition of Israel by the PLO, both brokered by the United States. Today, U.S. foreign policy has returned to such an era of peace-making. This latest peace deal will go down as one of the most significant accomplishments of the Trump administration since it has the potential to lead to even more nations establishing peace with the only majority Jewish nation in the world. 

Anastasia is a MSc candidate in Democracy and Comparative Politics at the University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom. Born and raised in Athens, Greece, to American parents, Anastasia has also lived in the United States and in France. During her free time, she enjoys traveling the world and spending time with her two dogs, Jasper and Charlie.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Anastasia Kourtis

Anastasia is a MSc candidate in Democracy and Comparative Politics at the University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom. Born and raised in Athens, Greece, to American parents, Anastasia has also lived in the United States and in France. During her free time, she enjoys traveling the world and spending time with her two dogs, Jasper and Charlie.

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