The affairs of the World

Fredy Winkler

Perhaps the most remarkable statement that the new American president made during his inauguration speech was, “From now on, things are going to be different.” What that statement will entail has yet to be demonstrated, but he did emphasize one item very clearly; namely, that Islamic terrorism must be eradicated.

Based on certain statements that Donald Trump has made, the far-right leaning elements in Israel have high hopes for the new president of the United States. Some even traveled to the United States, to take part in the inauguration celebration. They even had hats made with “Make Israel Great Again” logos on them. Immediately after Trump’s swearing-in ceremony, they wanted to begin the process of annexing all of Zone C, which lies within the Palestinian part of the country, but is still fully controlled by Israel. If that wasn’t possible, then at least the three largest settlements: Ariel, Ma’aleh-Adumim and Gush-Etzion. The new US administration, however, called for Israel not to make any unilateral moves.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu came under great pressure by the extreme right factions of his coalition government. They demanded that he finally put to rest the idea of a two-state solution and follow the example of Menachem Begin, founder of the Likud Party, who didn’t hesitate to annex the Golan Heights in his time.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is typically counted among the hawks of the Israeli government, warned against over-reaching and instead advised to wait until the new American government is fully in place, before taking any action. He stated further, that those who believe the Israeli parliament has the power to annex Palestinian land are wrong. Something like that can only occur with the approval of the US government. Anyone who prematurely attempts a reckless annexation will only damage the successful annexation of the three largest settlements.

With his statement, the Israeli defense minister made it unmistakably clear that a future resolution of the Palestinian conflict will only be possible through an understanding with the United States government. President Trump has previously stated that he intends to solve the Palestinian problem with a “deal,” but so far, no one knows what that really means. His statement made it clear, however, that the United States is prepared to play a role in Middle Eastern affairs, which wasn’t the case under the Obama administration. Recall that the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan were only possible through American mediation. An agreement with the Palestinians will also only be possible through American mediation.

Regarding American politics, an Egyptian journalist wrote, “The problem with us Arabs is that we don’t really hear what the Americans say, because we normally say something different from what we actually end up doing. The Americans do what they say they’re going to do. Obama said, ‘We won’t send ground troops into inter-Arab conflicts,’ and we kept asking, ‘Why aren’t the Americans doing something?’”

Based on past experience, it is therefore probably a good idea to pay attention to what President Trump has said, namely, “America First.” He has also said that America is willing to assist other countries, but such assistance will have a price. That statement was surely intended for all countries, Arab and Israeli alike. For Israel, it probably means that things won’t necessarily be better and easier with the new American administration, as many in Israel have imagined.

With the certain knowledge that God directs the affairs of the world according to His will, and that all His prophecies will eventually be fulfilled, particularly those in regard to Israel, Shalom!

News From Israel - 03/2017

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