Trump’s hardball Palestinian policy will blow up in Israel’s face

A poster of the U.S. President Donald Trump is set on fire during the annual anti-Israeli Al-Quds, Jerusalem, Day rally in Tehran, Iran. June 8, 2018Ebrahim Noroozi,AP
Slashing funds for the Palestinians is a radicalizing gift for terrorists — and a ticking time bomb for Israel’s security.

By Peter Lerner | Haaretz | Aug 26, 2018

The question is: will this doctrine bring peace, or will more, and potentially escalated, violence prevail? After all, in our region, poverty has been a breeding ground for radical recruitment, violence, and terrorism.

Over the weekend two indicators of the Trump Doctrine for the Middle East emerged. The first was an announcement from the US Department of State that $200 million earmarked for the aid for the Palestinians will be “redirected” from the West Bank and Gaza and be spent in accordance with U.S. national interests. USAID has been involved in developing Palestinian agriculture and infrastructure development — roads, and water supply and treatment.

The second, a leaked report that the Trump administration will announce at the beginning of September 2018 that it will cut its financial support for the operations of the UN’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the West Bank. The beneficiaries of these operations include include 809,738 registered refugees, 19 refugee camps, 96 schools with 48,956 pupils, two vocational and technical training centers, 43 primary health centers, 15 community rehabilitation centers and 19 women’s program centers. . . .

Many in Israel are celebrating these policies. Trump’s redirection of US policy converges with the ongoing frustration of many Israelis that blind American financial support for the Palestinian Authority has severe repercussions. They welcome the declaration that aid must be linked to progress towards a peace process, accountability for ongoing Palestinian incitement, and the cessation of monthly wages for terrorists and their families. . . .

There are critical inputs he doesn’t include — human and humanitarian needs — and a dangerous consequence he doesn’t factor in either: the detrimental effect on Israel’s security.

In the West Bank, by contrast, while the economic and security situation is far from rosy, it is staying afloat; security is reasonably stable, the intifada-era suicide bombings are a distant memory, and Palestinians there are far more engaged by daily life than with violence.

This drastic improvement can be attributed to the very international aid distributed by USAID, UNRWA and other international organizations that President Trump intends to slash.

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