Pres.-elect Trump is rounding out his cabinet nicely. So far, four generals, one multinational CEO, a billionaire who wrecked the Detroit school system–the list goes on. But it’s indicative of the importance Trump attributes to Israel that he tonight named his new ambassador there. He did this having named not a single other ambassador to any other country (though he did lobby the UK to name Nigel Farage as its U.S. ambassador!). Not China, not Russia, nor any EU nation. Any one of these should arguably have ten or one hundred times the weight that Israel has. Yet, we now are privileged to know that U.S. interests are in the hands of an avowed supporter not just of Israel, but settler-Israel. David Friedman, who has no experience in diplomacy or international relations; and whose expertise is in bankruptcy law, will be bringing peace to the Middle East according to the happy-talk press release distributed by the transition team. He does have one invaluable personal experience which justifies his appointment according to the press release announcing it: he celebrated his bar mitzvah at the Kotel! Baruch ha-Shem!
He has called the liberal Zionist group, J Street, “kapos.” He has denied its Jewish supporters are even Jews. He is the president of a foundation supporting the radical settlement of Bet El. Every major media headline notes that he is even more extreme in his views than Bibi Netanyahu. This is the ultimate triumph of Kahanism. It has literally taken over U.S. policy. Meir Kahane isn’t spinning in his grave. He’s doing the hora!
Historically, the U.S. ambassador oversees relations between this country and the PA. So how will any Palestinian leader look this settler cheerleader in the face?
It’s becoming ever clearer that, if anything, relations in the Middle East will become even worse than under Barack Obama. There are currently nearly 750,000 settlers in occupied Palestine. That number should easily exceed one-million within the next four years. Israel will, if it chooses to do so, find no U.S. opposition to annexing the West Bank. But Bibi may choose not to go that route. Why upset an apple cart that’s producing juicy, fresh apples every day? He will continue what he’s been doing, but on a more accelerated pace: more land thefts, more new settlements, enlarging existing ones, more segregated roads tying settlements to 1967 Israel. There will be no such thing as an illegal settlement. It will be the settler Gold Rush.
Friedman’s inaugural statement noted his joy at being the first U.S. ambassador to represent his country in Israel’s “eternal capital, Jerusalem.” There is no doubt construction will commence immediately on the new embassy compound on land purchased for that purpose in West Jerusalem. Within two years there will be a grand dedication attended by Trump himself to great fanfare and joy.
It’s not a problem according to Dennis Ross…or at least is shouldn’t be. He told the Wall Street Journal:
Practically speaking, moving the embassy to West Jerusalem shouldn’t affect the eventual “final status” of the city because few question whether that area of the city would be part of Israel in any final settlement of the decades-old conflict.
Except for those pesky Palestinians and their doggone emotional outbursts over such matters:
“But Jerusalem for both Israelis and Palestinians (and Arabs) is an emotional issue and it is easy to ratchet up those emotions when it appears the future of the city is being affected. Rational arguments don’t tend to be heard,”
What exactly is the ‘rational argument’ favoring moving the embassy to Jerusalem? C’mon it’s just a building. And we’re building it in West Jerusalem on good, ol’ Jewish-owned land (well, Jewish now, but before 1948…ah who the hell cares?).
As for those Palestinians…ah, who cares about ’em. Let ’em fester. On the dustheap of history. The ungrateful bastards never accepted the crumbs we generously offered them. To Hell with ’em. That will be the Trump approach.
It will be a disaster. There will be riots. Not just in Jenin or Ramallah. But in Beirut, Damascus, Cairo. Maybe even Riyadh, Lahore, Istanbul, Jakarta. Who knows? Remember the Danish cartoons and violent riots throughout the Muslim world? Do we think the Arab and Muslim world will sit back and say nothing? What about the Islamists? Though they have targeted some Jewish targets in Europe, this will redouble their efforts. It will also bring the U.S. into the crosshairs. We will not be spared for abandoning any semblance of fairness or decency in our relations with Palestine.
We’ll talk about Iran another time. But as Bibi has proven, there’s nothing like a war to stoke national hysteria and instill solidarity for tyrants and dictators. War with Iran? Why not? Did Trump warn against such foreign entanglements during the campaign? Who cares. That was then, this is now.
It will be a desperate time, the next four years. But one thing should lend comfort to us all if and when Trump fails: Friedman is an excellent bankruptcy lawyer, having shepherded Trump through several of them. I don’t know, however, whether he’s dealt with political bankruptcies. That may be beyond his expertise.