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Too soon for Israel to celebrate

Al-Jazeera, Qatar, February 17

Any right minded individual who observed the interaction between President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, during the latter’s visit to Washington, understands that we are entering a day and age in which America is becoming even more biased in its favoring of Israel. This spells out bad trouble for the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas. At the same time, I believe that it is too soon for the Israelis to celebrate. The Israeli government would have been wise to curb its enthusiasm and demonstrate more prudence, and a little less arrogance, in its celebration of the new American administration. So far, the only consistent thing about President Trump has been his inconsistency. Trump’s policies have changed, shifted, appeared and disappeared — not only between his campaign and when he actually stepped into office, but also within the last few weeks. During his press conference at the White House, Trump put Benjamin Netanyahu on the spot by calling him to limit settlement activity in front of the cameras. The terrified Prime Minister reluctantly looked back at the President, without saying a word. Israel’s so-called strongest ally caught lecturing the Israeli prime minister on live television. What’s more, Trump – unknowingly perhaps – opened a Pandora’s Box by claiming that he would back the one-state solution if that is the solutions that the two sides agree upon. Other than reflecting the President’s shocking ignorance on the subject matter, this statement horrified right-minded Israelis. To those who understand basic demographics, the one-state solution means one of two options: either a bi-national state, or an apartheid one. Under the first scenario, Israel will cease to be Jewish. Under the second one, it will cease to be democratic. Both solutions seem to stand in complete contradiction to Israel’s very own raison d’etre; that is, its founding ethos and vision. These are only some of the mishaps that have occurred, publicly, within a month of Trump’s presidency. There is much more to come. The shear chaos representing the new American administration will not leave Israel unaffected. It is true: Trump blindly favors Israel. But it is too soon for Israel to celebrate. His ineptitude and incompetence might leave the Israelis missing Barak Obama. – Osama Abu Rashid