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Trump, Israel, and the Middle East: What’s at Stake?

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The relationship between Israel and the United States has always been complex and multifaceted, deeply influenced by the political dynamics within both nations. One significant aspect of this relationship is the alignment of U.S. conservatism, notably during Donald Trump’s presidency, with Israeli ethno-nationalism.

Historical Context

During Trump’s presidency, U.S.-Israel relations were marked by unprecedented support for Israeli policies. Key actions included recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the U.S. embassy there, and supporting Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. These moves, celebrated by the Israeli right-wing, were seen as a significant shift from the traditional U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict .

Israel’s Anticipation of Trump’s Return

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other right-wing leaders have expressed their admiration for Trump, viewing his potential return to the White House as an opportunity to further solidify their agenda. Trump’s administration’s policies were aligned with the goals of Israeli ethno-nationalism, providing robust political and military support and marginalizing Palestinian aspirations for statehood .

U.S. Conservatism and Israeli Ethno-Nationalism

The alignment between U.S. conservatism and Israeli ethno-nationalism is underpinned by shared ideological foundations. U.S. conservatives, despite some elements of anti-Semitism within their ranks, have strongly supported Israel’s right-wing agenda. This paradoxical relationship is driven by a combination of religious, strategic, and political factors. Evangelical Christians in the U.S., a core constituency of Trump’s base, support Israel based on theological beliefs about biblical prophecy .

Impact on U.S. Middle East Policy

A Trump win in the next U.S. presidential election would likely lead to several significant shifts in U.S. policy towards the Middle East:

  • Increased Support for Israeli Policies: Trump’s previous administration’s policies were heavily tilted in favor of Israel, sidelining Palestinian concerns. A return to this approach would likely see renewed support for Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and a continuation of policies that undermine the two-state solution .
  • Marginalization of Palestinian Rights: Trump’s policies effectively marginalized Palestinian aspirations by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cutting funding to UNRWA. This approach could intensify, further diminishing the prospects for Palestinian statehood and self-determination .
  • Normalization of Relations with Arab States: The Abraham Accords, facilitated by the Trump administration, led to normalization agreements between Israel and several Arab states. Trump’s return could accelerate this trend, potentially bringing more countries into the fold while further isolating the Palestinians .
  • Hardline Stance on Iran: Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, characterized by the withdrawal from the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) and re-imposition of sanctions, was in line with Israeli security concerns. A second Trump term would likely see a return to these hardline policies, potentially increasing regional tensions .

Broader Implications for the Middle East

The potential impact of Trump’s policies on the broader Middle East would be substantial. Here are some key areas to consider:

  • Increased Regional Tensions: A more aggressive U.S. stance towards Iran could heighten tensions in the region, leading to increased instability and potential conflict. This would impact not only Iran and Israel but also other countries in the region .
  • Shifts in Arab-Israeli Dynamics: The normalization of relations between Israel and Arab states, a process started under Trump, could continue, leading to a realignment of regional alliances. However, this could also exacerbate divisions within the Arab world and further isolate Palestinian leadership .
  • Impact on U.S. Global Standing: A return to Trump’s policies could affect the U.S.’s global standing, particularly among European allies who favored the JCPOA and a more balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This could lead to tensions within NATO and other international alliances .

Israel’s dream

Israel’s dream of a Trump victory in the next U.S. presidential election reflects a desire to continue and expand upon policies that have significantly favored its ethno-nationalist agenda. The implications for U.S. policy in the Middle East are profound, potentially leading to increased regional tensions, further marginalization of Palestinian rights, and shifts in Arab-Israeli dynamics. As the political landscape evolves, the future of U.S.-Israel relations and their impact on the Middle East remains a critical area of focus.

References

Wasim Qadri
Wasim Qadrihttp://wasimqadriblog.wordpress.com/
Islamabad based Senior Journalist, TV Show Host, Media Trainer, can be follow on twitter @jaranwaliya

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