In the waning days of the Obama-Biden administration, President Obama decided to stick a finger in the eyes of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and all Israelis, breaking with decades of U.S. policy allowing UNSC Resolution 2334 to pass, declaring that Israeli Jews living east of the 1949 Armistice Lines was illegal. The action set the stage for various BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movements of Israel around the world.
Now, as the Trump administration heads into its final days, it is also considering some parting actions, following up on its pro-Israel initiatives according to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Below are some recommendations.
At the United Nations
The hostility towards Israel at the United Nations has not abated. While the United States will not be able to get any pro-Israel items through the UN Security Council, it could set markers for future U.S. administrations.
- Ending Phrase “occupied East Jerusalem” and “Haram al Sharif”. The UN regularly passes resolutions which are incorrect and insulting to the Jewish State. As all of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem were separated in the 1947 UN Partition Plan (which did not pass) and the Jordanian annexation of eastern Jerusalem was illegal, there is no basis for calling the eastern part of the city as “occupied Palestinian territory.” Additionally, only calling Judaism’s most holy location, the Temple Mount, by its Islamic name is insulting. The US should declare that it will automatically oppose any resolution with such flawed verbiage, regardless of the contents of the resolution.
- Dignity for Jews at the Temple Mount. UN resolutions routinely call for dignity of Palestinians but only security for Jews. They also calls for changing the status quo of Jerusalem but not for the holy sites. This outrage and hypocrisy is disgusting. A call for Jews to be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount at specific times just as the Muslims and Jews share the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron should be clearly articulated.
- Biased Supporter of Israel. The Palestinians complain the United States is not a neutral mediator in trying to resolve the conflict. It should not be. Not only is Israel a strong American ally but the Palestinians have not abandoned the incitement and reward for terrorism. Further, until the UN stops singling out Israel in its resolutions, the U.S. should make abundantly clear that it will stand with Israel in the global forum and not pressure Israel into any concessions with the Palestinian Authority.
The situation of Palestinian “refugees” going on for generations and not having self-determination must end. It is bad for the Palestinians and is bad for the peace process which cannot move forward as it undermines the very basis of two states for two people.
- Prepare the Compensation Mechanism. UNGA Resolution 194 which passed in 1948, sought to bring refugees who fled the war back to their homes or compensate them for their losses, provided they were willing to live in peace with Israel. Many wars, intifadas, electing a Holocaust denier to the presidency and a terrorist group to the majority of parliament long sealed the fate of how this would play out. It is time to begin tabulating the compensation for ALL Palestinians who fled from the war (not just those under the UNRWA mandate). Similarly, compensation for the Jews who fled from Arab lands should also be calculated.
- Demand Self-Determination Now. Every person as a human right to self-determination. The Palestinians who live in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan (even though almost all of them were born in those countries) should be granted citizenship and full rights in each respective country immediately. The people who live in Gaza, Areas A and B under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority should be able to vote in Palestinian elections, and all people – Jew and Arab – who live in Area C should be allowed to vote in Israel, if and until other dynamics change that administrative equation.
- Dissolve UNRWA. The unique agency for Palestinians is bloated in terms of funding and personnel compared to the global UNHCR and foments hatred for the Jewish State. It’s duties should be folded into UNHCR immediately and ultimately the need for the group disappears with the actions taken above.
Jerusalem has been home for the three monotheistic religions for over a thousand years, and only under the Modern State of Israel have all religions been able to live and pray in their holy city.
- More Jewish homes. While the city has blossomed, it has done so very unevenly. The Arab population continues to grow dramatically (counter to the false claims that Israel is ‘ethnically cleansing’ the city), with the Arab population growing 38% between 2000 and 2010 and then 29% between 2010 and 2018. Meanwhile the Jewish population in the city only grew by 12% and 13% in those time periods, respectively. All of the growth for Jews was from births as there was actually a net migration out of the city of thousands of people (6,000 in 2018 alone) because of limited housing and costs. The US should support the building of additional homes in and around Jerusalem.
Israel has the terrorists group Hezbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza at its borders. Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism which supports both groups, has threatened to wipe Israel off of the map. The Obama administration gave over $100 billion to Iran and a legal pathway to nuclear weapons threating the survival of Israel.
- Bunker Busters. The United States is one of the few countries that has the weaponry to blast underground facilities. These armaments should be sold to Israel to enable it to deal with the nuclear facilities in Iran and the missiles in Lebanon.
- Palestinian Terrorists. The US should make clear that no terrorist group will be allowed in a Palestinian government. Should any group not give up all weapons to the Palestinian Authority and commit to recognize Israel in becoming part of a Palestinian government, the US should cease all aid in all forms to the Palestinians, and label the PA itself a terrorist group.
- Terrorism in Territories. The State Department under the Obama administration gave scant attention to terrorism that was not committed in Israel proper. Such approach fueled additional terror. It is bad enough when the UN and BBC blame the victims, but the US should make clear that any and all terrorism committed anywhere is appalling and commit to fighting terrorism aggressively, something the Obama administration only did for other countries.
Anti-Semitism is found throughout the world both in official laws and in civilian actions. The United States should encourage other countries to join Israel in routing this global scourge.
- Jews Should Never Be Banned. The world has a long history of placing Jews in ghettoes and determining where they can and cannot live. It’s a disgrace. Israel is not the world’s Pale of Settlement and Jews should be allowed to live and work anywhere. Anti-settlements is anti-Semitism in its core and should be called out as such. The U.S. should call on all governments to condemn the notion of “Judaizing” a neighborhood, regardless of where it is located.
- Anti-Kosher/Halal and Anti-Circumcision Bills. Many governments are advancing laws targeting Jews and Muslims, making it impossible to live peacefully as neighbors. The U.S. should be a beacon of openness by calling out anti-circumcision and anti-ritual slaughter laws which are thinly-veiled methods of getting rid of Jews and Muslims.
Overall, the Trump administration should recommit to the 2004 President Bush letter to Ariel Sharon which gave Israel assurances to take risks for peace. The formula led Israel to give up Gaza which rapidly became a hotbed for radical Islam and terrorism. There is no chance Israel will take any future actions to make additional concessions to the PA which not only give it moral support but guarantees for its dignity and security.
The politeness of politics catering to anti-Semites has hindered the promotion of Jewish rights for too long. The Trump administration can still take actions to right these historical wrongs.
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