Trump appoints ex-Israeli settler to oversee peace process Roqayah Chamseddine

on December 25, 2016

Greenblatt is another staunchly pro-Israel voice joining the President-elect’s administration and according to The Forward may be the first leading adviser on Israel to a US President that’s done guard duty at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank while “armed with an M-16 assault weapon.” While Greenblatt supports a two-state solution, he believes that the withdrawal from Gaza was the forerunner to the rise of Hamas, as well as the following wars. The real estate attorney who will become America’s leading man on Israel once studied at a religious school in the West Bank settlement of Alon Shuvot, and is the author of a tourist guide on family holidays in Israel.

Greenblatt’s political ideology concerning Israel is the same as Trump’s, and the businessman turned president has deferred to him for policy decisions on Israel. In an interview with Israel’s Channel 1 News, Greenblatt suggests that Donald Trump will “try” to work towards a two-state solution, and that the Trump administration will be a friend to Israel and of Benjamin Netanyahu who he says he hopes we’ll see in the White House. “[Trump] has gone on record to say that the settlements in the West Bank can stay…I personally believe that they should stay. I don’t believe that they’re an obstacle to peace and the whole Gaza situation proves that,” Greenblatt says.

Greenblatt had been serving as Co-Chairman of the Israel Advisory Committee for the Trump campaign, along with David Friedman who the president-elect has been tapped at the next U.S. ambassador to Israel. Trump’s platform on Israel, released in November, reveals a single-minded view of the occupation devoted to further strengthening the already hyper-militaristic relationship between the US and Israel. The policy statement notes in part that a Trump administration will “ensure that Israel receives maximum military, strategic and tactical cooperation from the United States, and the [Memorandum of Understanding] will not limit the support that we give.”

The first Memorandum of Understanding [MOU], signed in 1981, was directed at confronting “Soviet threats in the Middle East”, with the objective of enhancing strategic cooperation between the US and Israel. The latest MOU was signed in September, guaranteeing a security package for Israel that would entail $38 billion over 10 years, and would include missile defense systems, and fighter jets.

On the United Nations, Greenblatt and his co-chairman David Friedman argue that the US should “veto any United Nations votes that unfairly single out Israel”, and that a Trump administration will work to “oppose any efforts to delegitimize Israel, impose discriminatory double standards against Israel, or to impose special labeling requirements on Israeli products or boycotts on Israeli goods.”

Among the other nationalistic flourishes that bleed through the platform statement, Israel as the “state of the Jewish people” is arguably the central refrain, as is the call to continue to provide Israel will military aid, and all else that it may need in order to ‘defend itself’. “The Palestinians” are only mentioned in order to scold them for what they call ‘attempts to avoid having to commit to a peaceful coexistence’—the main “attempt” in this case is the BDS movement. “The false notion that Israel is an occupier should be rejected [by the Palestinians],” the statement reads.

According to Arutz Sheva, Trump’s administration is shaping up to be one of the most pro-Israel that has been seen ‘in a generation’, and an overwhelming number of Israeli’s—83% according to a recent poll—are confident that his administration will work in Israel’s best interest. A report by the Jewish Journal notes that before the 2012 US elections 47% of Israelis considered the Obama administration to be “pro-Palestinian”, and only 21% said they thought it was “pro-Israeli”. Fast forward to 2015 and that number crashed: only 9% of those polled said that the current administration is “pro-Israeli” while 60% said it was “pro-Palestinian”. With Greenblatt joining Trump’s administration there’s no doubt that any policies decisions made will work in Israel’s favor, as they’ve said just as much.

About Roqayah Chamseddine

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Lebanese-American writer based in Sydney. She writes the Sharp Edges column at Shadowproof and politics at Paste Magazine. She tweets at @roqchams.

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