As an American citizen it is my right and duty to petition my elected leaders. I firmly maintain that the most important issue facing the United States is national security. Without security, discussions about other issues can’t get started. Primary to America’s national security is a strong alliance with Israel. To that end, I have three specific expectations of the Trump administration. As the next four years unfold, I will judge the Trump administration by these three factors.
Expectation #1 A healthy and productive relationship with Israel
America should have a strong relationship with all its allies, and Israel should be first on that list. Unfortunately this hasn’t always been the case. Under the Eisenhower, Carter and Obama administrations the US-Israel relationship was strained. President Trump should go out of his way to show that the US-Israel relationship is strong. He should meet often with Prime Minister Netanyahu and treat him with respect. No longer should America have daylight between it and its allies, while bringing its enemies closer. This absurd strategy of the last eight years distanced Israel and disillusioned Arab countries who saw America abandoning its friend.
The memorandum of understanding signed between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu should be rewritten with the provisions unfavorable to Israel removed. This would include no longer requiring Israel to spend 100% of American aid in America, but reverting back to the Bush agreement which required a 75/25 split. Money for missile defense would not have to be included in the annual aid package and Israel would be allowed to ask for more aid if it required it. Israel’s qualitative military edge should be maintained and military and intelligence cooperation should be extended even past the high levels of the past eight years.
President Trump should continue the longstanding tradition of defending Israel at the United Nations. If there are disagreements between the two countries they should be expressed directly and privately between the two countries, not through press leaks, State department briefings, or any other public forum.
President Trump should quickly announce and begin moving the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Along with the move should come an official policy change that barring an Israeli change in policy, America stands behind Israel’s position that an undivided Jerusalem is its Capital.
Expectation #2 – Iran
President Trump must reverse America’s appeasement to the Mullahs in Iran and begin demanding Iran act in concert with the rest of the world. It must be warned that its sponsorship of terror, ballistic missile testing, harassment of US naval ships, and human rights abuses must come to an immediate end or harsher sanctions will be imposed. Included in this warning must be a warning to Iran sponsored Hizbollah to disarm in accordance with UN resolution 1701. Any sort of nuclear weapons activity, even if only by suspicion will not he tolerated and will be seen as a breach of the Iran deal.
Expectation #3 – Palestinians & The West Bank
The United States has an erroneous and antiquated bipartisan position against Israeli settlement activity. This policy has encouraged Palestinian obstinance and done nothing to encourage Palestinians to join Israel at the negotiating table. President Trump needs to reverse this policy and instead express the need for immediate direct negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis and the end to Palestinian incitement to violence against Israelis. The Palestinian Authority must be threatened with even more (The Obama administration already started this policy) redirection of American aid from the Palestinian Authority to local NGO’s who assist the Palestinian community. The United Nations should be put on notice that America no longer supports the ostracizing of Israel through its settlement policies.
President Trump needs to take steps against Hamas and threaten to cut off American aid to Gaza if it continues being hijacked by Hamas for use in rocket manufacturing and tunnel building. After every attack against Israel, the White House or State Department spokesman should condemn the attack while holding the Palestinian Authority responsible for incitement through setting a violent culture.
If the Trump administration follows these three steps, the US-Israel relationship will be strong and our shared enemies will learn to fear the bond. They will moderate their behavior accordingly, and an actual Pan-Arab- Israeli peace deal can be completed. If President Trump follows these steps I will support and encourage him, if he does not, I will petition him to reverse direction, and if he refuses, I will encourage my representatives in Congress and the Senate to stymie his efforts over the next four years. I trust that the President understands the value that Israel and its security presents to the United States, and will follow these steps.