January 05, 2017
Former Israeli National Security Official: Jewish State Should Work Closely With Trump to Bolster Ties With Most Important Ally
By Barney Breen-Portnoy
Israel should work closely with US President-elect Donald Trump to further bolster its relationship with its most important ally, a former head of the Jewish state’s National Security Council said on Tuesday.
Despite the recent US abstention from a vote on an anti-settlement UN Security Council resolution, and outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry’s subsequent speech in which he assailed settlement construction, there are many areas — particularly the defense field — in which US-Israel ties are “flourishing,” Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror said in a Jewish Institute for National Security of America conference call.
“What should be done is to take this base — which is built on the deep relations between the people of Israel and the people of the United States of America — and build more floors in a combined effort by the new administration after the inauguration and the government of the state of Israel,” Amidror said.
Regarding Trump’s campaign promise to move the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Amidror said, “It’s his decision, not our decision, but for us it’s very important. It’s even more important today after the [Security Council resolution], which did not make any differentiation between Jerusalem and the settlements.”
Concerns that have been voiced about a potential violent Arab backlash to a relocation of the embassy have been “exaggerated,” Amidror said.
Among the Palestinians, Amidror went on to say, “There would be some reaction, but it would be contained…It is not in the interest of [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] to have demonstrations which might go out of control. He knows that he can survive only because of the help he gets from Israel. If it was only him, he would not survive. In the Arab world, there would be a big difference between the reaction of leaders, who don’t care, and maybe some demonstrations in the streets.”
Any such protests, Amidror predicted, would “be very minor.”
“But at the end of the day,” he continued, “we think that the reaction of extremists in the Middle East should not be a factor in the decision.”
The Obama administration’s recent actions vis-a-vis Israel, Amidror said, have been incomprehensible.
“There is not any logic, not any fairness and not any chance for a good result, so I really don’t understand it,” he said. “They are very smart people and they made a huge mistake.”
The Security Council resolution and Kerry’s speech, according to Amidror, have made the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks less likely and will “encourage BDS against Israel and add fuel to the fire of antisemitism, because for many people there is no difference between Israel and Jews.”