US-Israeli Relations: The Trump Administration
By Eduardo David Dana
The US and Israel’s positive diplomatic relations stem from the founding of Israel itself, but recent administrations and politicians tested this special relationship. However, over the last years the Trump administration succeeded in restoring the ever-lasting Israeli-American bond, allowing for new historical breakthroughs and initiatives.
Historically, American diplomacy in Israel has been aimed at resolving bitter Palestinian-Israeli relations, a difficult task considering the tense, complex history of the conflict.
Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, European Jews faced religious persecution and were permitted to immigrate to British mandated Palestine. Jewish immigration gradually increased creating tension with the local Arab community. Following World War II, which saw six million Jews murdered and many displaced, Jewish immigration to Palestine dramatically increased, fueling greater tensions between Arab and Jewish communities. In 1948, the UN partitioned the land, creating an Arab state, Palestine, and a Jewish state, Israel.
This decision however infuriated neighboring Arab nations, who expelled and seized property from Jews, eventually leading to their long-standing, hostile relations with Israel.
In the same period a movement supporting the Jewish State of Israel emerged in the US, laying the foundations for the support America provided to Israel ever since: the US has greatly aided Israel as an independent state, providing military aid and facilitating peace agreements with its neighbors. When surrounding Arab nations unexpectedly attacked Israel in 1973 on Yom Kippur, the holiest day for Jews, the Nixon administration aided Israel immensely, airlifting powerful military hardware, ensuring a swift Israeli victory.
Notable American diplomatic efforts toward Israel’s neighbors began in 1979 when Egypt and Israel formalized their peace deal, coordinated by President Carter. The Clinton administration in particular led several initiatives aimed at establishing peace in the Middle East: in 1993, Clinton famously hosted Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli PM, Yitzhak Rabin, signing a groundbreaking agreement that gave Palestinian territories self-governing privileges. The following year, Clinton also hosted Israel and Jordan in the signing of their peace treaty. When intense conflict emerged once again between Palestinians and Israelis in 2006, the Bush administration openly supported the Jewish state. Before leaving office, Bush addressed the Israeli parliament, remarking the unbreakable, divine bond between the US and Israel.
In recent years however a wave of US politicians condemning Israeli activities has arisen.
In 2015, the Obama administration signed the unfair and dangerous Iran Nuclear Deal. The deal gave Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism, access to $150 billions in assets, the right to purchase ballistic missiles within eight years and also effectively prohibited the EU or US from inspecting the development of their nuclear program.
All of this despite Iran’s history of sponsoring and arming radical Islamist terrorist organizations such as Hamas, a pro-Palestinian movement aimed at eradicating Israel as a Jewish state.
Hamas has openly claimed that the Holocaust was simply invented to serve Zionist goals, outspokenly characterized all Jews as inherently evil, and most importantly is responsible for many terrorist attacks on innocent Israeli civilians. Iran also funds and provides high-tech weapons to other radical Islamic fundamentalist groups such as Hezbollah, which also engaged in Holocaust denialism over the years.
Despite these clear and foreboding warnings, the Obama administration signed the Iran Nuclear
Deal, allowing Iran to continue to fund vile terrorist groups, thus testing US-Israeli relations to levels never seen before.
Also, more recent actions have undermined US-Israeli relations, including the anti-Semitic comments made by popular US congresswomen, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. In 2012 Omar claimed that Israel hypnotized the world and that “Allah should awaken the people and help them see the wrongdoings of Israel.” She went on to characterize Israel as an “apartheid state” and claimed that US-Israeli relations are “all about the benjamins [money].”
Congresswoman Tlaib has openly supported a single Arab state in present-day Israel, meaning
Jews not being entitled to any land whatsoever. She did so by tweeting a photo with the slogan,
“From the [Jordan] River to the [Medditerean] Sea, Palestine will be free” which was even
slightly altered and adopted by Hamas.
In spite of the measures taken by recent administrations and politicians which nearly jeopardized America’s relationship with Israel, President Trump took significant historic steps toward restoring great relations: in 2018, Trump officially withdrew from the Iran deal, re-deploying strict economic sanctions thus hindering Iran’s program of terrorism funding. The US also moved its embassy to Jerusalem, establishing it as the capital of Israel. Both the Dome of the Rock, a sacred mosque for Palestinians, and the Western Wall, the holiest site for Jews, lay on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, causing both Palestinians and Israeli’s to feel a divine attachment to the land. Establishing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital showed immense respect and honored Jewish history. This move thus greatly improved relations between Israel and the US. Moreover, the Trump administration had several ties with Israel, reassuring the Israelis. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner are both Jewish, and so are the Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, and Senior Advisor Stephen Miller, all of whom have been vocal in supporting the Jewish state and were involved in peace agreements in the Middle East.
In November of 2020, the UAE signed a historic peace-treaty with Israel in Washington DC, making it the first Arab nation to officially recognize the State of Israel since Jordan in 1994. The deal opened full economic and diplomatic relations between both countries, making the UAE the third ever Middle Eastern country to hold diplomatic relations with Israel. Shortly after, Bahrain announced the signing of a full peace agreement with the Jewish state, indicating that other Middle Eastern nations, such as Saudi Arabia, could soon follow these decisive, unprecedented steps towards peace in the Middle East.
In light of this, the Trump administration has undeniably achieved momentous accomplishments in improving relations with Israel and its neighbors. Despite the recent actions of previous administrations and politicians questioning the ties between Israel and the US, Trump restored the ever-lasting, brotherly Israeli-American bond which stems from the very founding of the state of Israel.