The Middle East peace process has been one of the ongoing issues that presidents have had to confront for decades. The historical, political and faith impacts on possession of land in the area are immense.
President Donald Trump has long touted himself as a friend of Israel. Reports out of Israel signify that they view Trump as more sympathetic to their causes than Obama. Now we will see the first test of Trump’s diplomacy with our ally following the passage of a controversial law in Israel’s parliament.
The latest escalation in political rhetoric came after the Israeli government passed a law retroactively legalizing thousands of West Bank homes the Palestinians say were built there illegally on Palestinian land, The Associated Press reported.
“Nobody can legalize the theft of the Palestinian lands. Building settlements is a crime, building settlements is against all international laws,” said Palestinian Tourism and Antiquities Minister Rula Maayaa. “I think it is time now for the international community to act concretely to stop the Israelis from these crimes.”
This latest move is one of many that have occurred since Trump’s election. Israeli leaders reportedly see him as a stronger ally than Obama was and feel somewhat emboldened to take more assertive actions.
Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin called the law “a first in a series of measures that we must take in order to make our presence in Judea and Samaria present for years, for decades, for ages.”
“I do believe that our right over our fatherland is something that cannot be denied,” he added.
The law faced a fierce debate before being passed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his concerns about its passage noting that it could trigger international censure. The law which is expected to be challenged in Israel’s Supreme Court is essentially an eminent domain law that gives land to Israelis for settlement and gives Palestinians money or alternative land in exchange.
The Trump administration has reportedly been in contact with Netanyahu about the new law. However, they are delaying comment until after “the relevant court ruling.” Among the most problematic elements of the law is the citizenship of the West Bank inhabitants themselves. The area is not considered to be sovereign Israeli territory and Palestinians living in the area “are not citizens and do not have the right to vote for the government that imposed the law on them.”
Source: Town Hall