What to Expect from the New US Administration

Suha Aljundi

Trump's fury over US veto abstention last week regarding condemnation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank is indicative of a major turn in the US policy of the new administration. Israel is not used to this kind of irking, and it immediately fired back by announcing the continuation of its settlement plans.
Speaking to Chicago Council on Global Affairs early this month, Moshe Ya'alon, former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, who also served as Israel's Defense Minister from 2013 until his resignation on May 20, 2016, defended settlements vehemently ruling out any future possibility for a two-state solution citing several reasons.
First and foremost, he claimed that the outcome of the newborn state will certainly be terror, as all Palestinians including Fatah and Hamas actually do not recognize the Jewish State, and their negotiations aim to take any piece of land to launch attacks on Israel to take more land. He quotes the Palestinians' rhetoric everywhere: schools, mosques, streets and elsewhere to be denying the right of Israel to exist, adding that, although he supported Oslo agreement, he knew very well that P.L.O will use it as a Trojan Horse.
Another reason he presented is that Gaza and the West Bank depend on Israel for their living. They get their water, electricity and gas from Israel, and their trade is mainly with Israel. He concludes that a state like this can never live on its own. Third, he added that there are two factions in the Palestinian territories and this is a sufficient reason to stop these negotiations. The bottom-line, he said, is that there is no solution to the Palestinian case.
Nevertheless, Ya'alon claimed that the Palestinian case is not the issue, because there are battles all over the region, some are sectarian; some are tribal and some are national, as in the case of the Kurds.
He expected that Syria will not be united again, and that all Russia is interested in is upholding the Alawite regime even on 25% of the Syrian land to protect Russia's interests. The danger, however, comes from the jihadists and Iran, and the USA should be pro-active rather than reactive.
Ya'alon expressed satisfaction over the temporal change in the Arab tone, switching conflict with Israel from Israel-Arab to Israel-Palestinian conflict, and he could give himself permission to speak on behalf of Arab Sunni countries and demand the USA to confront Iran with all possible means, stating that the vacuum USA left behind encouraged Iran to step in boldly, and demanded a deeper involvement in the region by the new administration.
He explained that if the vacuum holds on, Israel and the Sunni Arab countries are in one boat and they will see more hostile acts like Iran expansion and more Jihadists joining the fight.
Suha Aljundi