|Pence swears in Friedman|
No amount of Trump tweeting or political posturing can mask the damage done to President Trump’s legendary deal-making ability following his failure to convince all Republican Party members in the House of Representatives to vote for the repeal of Obamacare and its replacement with Trumpcare.
Trump fared little better when the Senate confirmed Trump’s nominee for US Ambassador to Israel – David Friedman – by 52 votes to 46.
Only two Democratic senators – Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Joe Manchin of West Virginia – supported Trump’s choice.
Bitter partisan Democrat-Republican battlelines – fuelled by a hostile media publishing allegedly-claimed criminal leaks following Trump’s unanticipated electoral victory – increasingly threaten to undermine Trump’s election promises to “drain the swamp” and “make America great again”.
Israel, however, represents a real opportunity for Trump to unite Congress and repair the fractured Republican-Democrat relationship if Trump respects these following three bipartisan decisions:
1. Congress’s overwhelming vote by 502 votes to 12:
Endorsing the written commitments made by President Bush to Israel’s Prime Minister Sharon on 14 April 2004 to encourage Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza and part of the West Bank and give the Bush-Quartet Roadmap (“Roadmap”) every chance of ending a conflict that had raged unresolved for 85 years.
Bush made the following commitments to Israel:
(i) To prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any plan other than the Roadmap.
(ii) Acknowledged that Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between Israel and the PLO in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.
(iii) Agreed in light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, that it was unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations would be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949
(iv) That the United States was strongly committed to Israel's security and well-being as a Jewish state.
2. Congress’s resolution on 5 January 2017 by a vote of 342-80:
“that the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 undermined the long-standing position of the United States to oppose and veto United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to impose solutions to final status issues, or are one-sided and anti- Israel, reversing decades of bipartisan agreement.”
3. The Senate’s vote 96-4 on 24 January 2017:
Confirming South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as ambassador to the United Nations.
During her confirmation hearing Haley told the Senate:
“Nowhere has the UN's failure been more consistent and more outrageous than it is -- than its bias against our close ally Israel. And the General Assembly session just completed, the UN adopted 20 resolutions against Israel. And only six targeting the rest of the world's countries combined. In the past ten years, the human rights council has passed 62 resolutions condemning the reasonable actions Israel takes to defend its security. Meanwhile, the world's worst human rights abusers in Syria, Iran, and North Korea, received far fewer condemnations. This cannot continue.”
In the two months since her appointment Haley has:
(i) Blocked the appointment of former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as the UN’s special representative for Libya.
(ii) Rebuked the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia for publishing a report characterizing Israel as an “apartheid state” – pressuring its leadership to retract the document and Commission head Rima Khalaf to resign days later.Trump’s yet to be announced policy on resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict needs to be based on these three bipartisan massive-majority decisions – guaranteeing that Congress will overwhelmingly endorse Trump’s detailed peace-making proposals when finally formulated for Congress ratification.
Unity is strength – division is weakness.