A little over a month after Trump decided on the largest shift in foreign policy, we can finally begin to understand how this will affect Americans on a national and international scale. Since the United States give $38 billion in military aid to Israel over the course of a decade, essentially stating American taxpayers give Israel $10.1 million per day, here’s why you should care about Trump’s decision to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Even before Trump was due to announce that “it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” as he states on December 6th, outcry from the international community made the United States the least liked country in the world, placing before North Korea, China, and Russia. Though many are pleased with the President’s decision making, others fear that his speech created an unrest in the Middle East which will spark an even greater hatred toward Americans in the region. As if this is not enough, terrorist organizations plan uprisings and governments are falling amid Trump’s seemingly slurred speech.
For example, as Palestinian protests rose in the region and President Abbas could not rebuke Trump’s decision with more force than diplomacy, Hamas are calling for an uprising. Similarly, the Hezbollah militant group are siding with the Hamas to make the region stronger. If these groups revolt and the US needs to send aid in the region, American troops will be sent and lives will be lost.
But here’s why all of this is important for you: aside from the fact that your money is going straight into Israeli weaponry used to kill civilians in Palestine and this conflict could cost American lives as well. Trump is single-handedly breaking his allies’ trust and even angered his strongest ones, England and France. This makes him more vulnerable as he will have no leverage over his enemies if he loses credibility in solving conflicts in the Middle East.
For example, Jordan and Egypt, strategically important countries for the United States, have already started to stop American interests in the region. Jordan is allowing its territory as an entry point into Syria for American aid and both countries usually have a steady relationship – until now. Similarly, Egyptian parliamentary has decided to boycott American products, including weapon purchases. US diplomats are at risk in the region and all American embassies are on heightened risk security – all for one speech. If you think this is exaggerating, understand this: even Russia who is trying to forge a relationship with the United States after Trump came into office has started to have a hostile attitude as Israel and Russia are not exactly the best of friends.
So, as Trump is slowly breaking ground in the decision-making process of the executive branch, he is also destroying all relations the United States has worked hard to forge over the years, including ties with Iran due to the nuclear deal, as well as ties with Syria since the United States and Russia led peace talks for the region. In short, he has already triggered protests from Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. The decision has even sparked a division in the Jewish community in the United States: while some believe it’s about time, others are worried about the repercussions in will have on the community.
Yes, Americans tend to sympathize more with Israelis than Palestinians because it is the “only democracy in the Middle East”; but please remember this: the only difference between Israel and Palestine in their airstrikes and civilian casualties and overall military defense in the region is that Israel claims to be better, to be more educated and more peaceful than the rest. While you are focusing on AIPAC’s motives as the second most powerful lobbying shop in Washington, Israel is illegally constructing West Bank Israeli settlements and killing civilians. Fortunately, Palestinians have the UN on their side, who refused to acknowledge Trump’s decision on the matter, stating he violated international law. If Trump goes through with this decision, it would make Israel the only UN member state whose capital is not accepted by the international community.
But there is hope: a survey showed that in general, young Americans are far less sympathetic toward Israel than their older peers, so change could be near. The Jerusalem decision should be a decision made by negotiations between Israel and Palestine, with no implication of the United States.
Now that the two-state solution is more elusive than ever before and this decision set Israel on a short path to fully acknowledge a form of apartheid. Though you might support Israel because of its values, claiming to be democratic, work will need to be done if this goes through, and that’s why you should care.