Jerusalem, Golan Heights, Colonies … Trump's concessions to his Israeli ally

The White House ruled on Monday that settlements in the West Bank were "not against the law". In August, Trump claimed that "no American president" had done as much as he did for Israel.

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Donald Trump and Benyamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem, May 23, 2017.
Donald Trump and Benyamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem, May 23, 2017. Ronen Zvulun / REUTERS

Visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in May 2017, Donald Trump is gathering in front of the Wailing Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. This is a first for an American president. Two years later, on August 21, he states that"No president" of the United States did as much for Israel as he did. Since taking office, he has expressed unconditional support for the country and its prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Israeli settlements: behind Donald Trump's decision, domestic policy issues

On December 6, 2017, Donald Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The decision provokes the anger of the Palestinians and the disapproval of the international community. The status of the Holy City is one of the most difficult problems of the conflict: the Palestinians have always wanted to make East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967 and then annexed, the capital of the state to which they aspire.

In response to the US announcement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the United States can no longer play its historic mediating role with the Israelis. Relations are frozen between Washington and the Palestinian Authority. During Vice President Mike Pence's Middle East tour, Palestinians refuse to meet him, which Donald Trump sees as lack of respect " with regard to the United States.

On May 14, the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem coincided with a bloodbath in the Gaza Strip, where some 60 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army. On Twitter, Donald Trump celebrates a "Great day for Israel".

Read also Near East: Trump's incoherent brutality
  • Financial aid to Palestinians removed

In January 2018, Donald Trump threatens Twitter : "We pay Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars without receiving thanks or respect (…). With Palestinians who do not want to talk about peace anymore, why should we pay them these huge sums? " After months of tensions, this threat is realized on August 31, 2018: Washington announces, by the voice of the State Department, that it will nullify its financial participation in the functioning of the United Nations agency in charge of Palestinian refugees , UNRWA.

This suppression is in addition to that of $ 200 million (172 million euros) of bilateral aid, decided on 25 August. Total US aid to Palestinians in 2017 was more than $ 350 million.

Read also US aid, essential in the budget of the UN agency for Palestine

In an attempt to weaken the Palestinian leadership, the United States announced in September 2018 the closure of the Palestinian Representative Office in Washington, which acted as a Palestinian Authority embassy in the United States. A month later, the diplomatic representation in Jerusalem responsible for contacts with Palestinian leaders is closed. The consulate, which had been fulfilling this mission for decades, will be merged with the embassy in Jerusalem.

  • Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights

In November 2018, the United States, for the first time, voted against a UN resolution considering the Israeli annexation of the Golan as " void ". This is the only country – with the Jewish state – to reject this text.

On March 21, at the urging of Benyamin Netanyahu, then campaigning for the legislative elections of April 9, Donald Trump said he is ready to recognize the sovereignty of Israel on part of the Syrian Golan. This territory was occupied during the Six-Day War in 1967 and annexed in 1981 by Israel, which the UN Security Council deemed null and void. "After fifty-two years, it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of strategic importance to the State of Israel and regional stability"says the US president on Twitter.

On March 25, Donald Trump signed the decree recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights in the presence of the Israeli prime minister. Syria denounces a "Flagrant violation" to his sovereignty.

Read also Palestine: the hazardous gamble launched by the United States
  • Israeli colonization deemed legal

Ensuring that "The establishment of settlements of Israeli civilians in the West Bank is not in itself contrary to international law", Monday, November 18, the US administration not only changes its policy but also swims against the current UN Security Council resolutions, such as 2334, which considers settlements as a "Violation of international humanitarian law" putting "Seriously endangering the viability of the two-state solution".

While Israel's colonization of the occupied West Bank has continued under all Israeli governments since 1967, it has accelerated in recent years under the leadership of Netanyahu and President Trump. Today, more than 400,000 Israelis live in the occupied West Bank, a fragmented territory where 2.7 million Palestinians live.

"Trump Administration Corrected Historical Injustice and Aligned with Truth and Justice"said Netanyahu the day after this announcement, declaring himself " very touched ".

Read also Fifty years of illegal occupation: how the colonization of the West Bank has continued to expand
  • A peace plan pending and without reference to the two-state solution

For two years, three close relatives of the American president and the Israeli prime minister – former Trump attorney Jason Greenblatt, his son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner, and the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman – are working on the plan. of peace meant to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Read also Israel-Palestine: What does Donald Trump's challenge to the two-state solution mean?

If no date has yet been announced for the presentation of this plan, and if its details are not known, the outline seems fixed. Barely in office, Donald Trump declares on February 15, 2017, while receiving Mr. Netanyahu, that Washington will no longer cling to the "two-state" solution, namely the creation of a Palestinian state that would coexist with Israel. In May, Jared Kushner confirms that the plan should not refer to "Two states".

In March, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also suggests that the future peace plan will have to break with traditional consensus on the key issues of Jerusalem, settlements or refugees.

Read our editorial: "Trump has already left its mark on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the end of the idea of ​​two states"


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