Signs stating “Make Israel Great Again” line the streets in Israel as they anxiously await January 20th, 2017, the day President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
Israel’s “right wing” is excited for what seems to be the beginning of a new future in Israel and the hope of support for Israeli settlements moving forward on land now wanted by the Palestinians.
According to a Reuters report, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Likud party, is preparing legislation to “annex one large settlement in the occupied West Bank to Israel and another bill that would legalize dozens of unauthorized outposts.”
The Obama administration didn’t make many friends in Israeli when it withheld a U.S. veto of an anti-settlement resolution at the United Nations Security Council, thus allowing the resolution to pass.
On Wednesday, President Obama said he was worried that “the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — the idea of Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security — were waning.”
Israel’s right wing sees the situation differently.
They see positive signals from Trump that indicate Washington’s attitude towards settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem areas that Israel captured back in 1967 is about to change.
Israel’s right wingers are happy with the fact that President-elect Trump has already appointed a new U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, someone far right on issues, including settlement building.
Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home political party, “hopes that under Trump’s administration the notion of establishing a Palestinian state will be abandoned” and wants to “promote a bill extending Israeli sovereignty to Maale Adumim, a West Bank settlement of about 40,000 Israelis that lies just to the east of Jerusalem.”
That would mean Israel annexing some of the land it has occupied for five decades.
Bennett spoke with Israel’s Army Radio and said, “It’s either (Israeli) sovereignty or Palestine. The question is not what will Trump do but what will Israel ask for? What will Israel present as its vision? We are in the money-time now for forming this vision.”
Trump, who will soon meet with Netanyahu, has already stated that he will move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
President Obama cautioned Trump on taking action in Israel too soon and stated that “sudden unilateral moves” that could be “explosive”.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdainah, said to Reuters that annexation was a red line and “Any such Israeli decision will be considered a dangerous escalation that would end any possible hope for peace.”
Professor Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, believes the right wing needs to move slower.
Rabinovich said, “In reality, where the United States needs to live not just with us but also with the Arab and Muslim world, supporting extremist measures in Israel could turn out to be something the United States cannot live with.”
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