President Trump once again has demonstrated his profound love and respect for the Jewish people and the beleaguered State of Israel. He became the hero of heroes and the champion of champions when he recognized Israel’s eternal sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel annexed in 1981. He should be thanked over and over again.
It was long overdue but very much a shot in the arm to those who have literally spent their entire adult lives fighting to keep the Golan Heights in Israel’s hands.
The instability in Syria was clearly the most important motivating factor. I believe the move by POTUS to recognize Israel’s control over the Golan Heights is part of a much broader plan to deal with the Syrian civil war and Assad’s tactics. Although the media would like to twist and turn this into a pre-election acrobatic, the timing is much more in line with the president’s plan to withdraw some troops from Syria and to reconfigure America’s Syrian strategy. Hence, POTUS said, “For years, other presidents have campaigned, they said they’d do it. This is sovereignty, this is security, this is about regional security.” Clearly the Iranian and Russian presence in Syria must be countered in all aspects.
This sends a powerful message. It also highlights the fact that the most essential aspect of security is land mass. Nothing is as vital or important strategically than holding onto one’s real estate. Israel’s security has suffered every time it has made a concession in this regard.
So what’s next? No one knows for sure, but permit me to speculate. The president correctly decided to wait till after the Israeli elections to roll out his peace plan. For starters, I would suggest to POTUS that just as he waited for the Israeli elections to take place, he should wait till after the American elections in 2020 before pushing his plan. The plan has been described by some as painful to both sides. Why take a chance of upsetting both your Evangelical base as well as your Jewish base by even discussing the peace plan? It is playing with fire and could be hazardous to one’s health. My suggestion is to wait till the second term. We are too close to the American elections right now to take extraordinary risks and chances.
Having said that, it is my belief that if Abbas rejects the Trump peace plan, then the president will tell him to take it or leave it. If he refuses, POTUS will then say he will recognize Israeli sovereignty of Judea and Samaria just as he recognized sovereignty in the Golan Heights. My hunch is it won’t change Abbas’ mind. I very much see President Trump carrying the Judea and Samaria recognition trophy, which I will call the “Trump Cup” for eternity. Just like the Golan Heights, it is long overdue. And just as he endorsed Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, he will endorse Israel’s sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.
Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.