Recently, Donald Trump has gotten beat up by Sen. Cruz and by Sen. Rubio because he once said “let me be sort of a neutral guy” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Monday in Washington, DC, Trump addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, aka AIPAC. During his speech, he received numerous rounds of applause. In political terms, the speech seemed to work.
At one point in Trump’s speech, he said “The United States can be useful as a facilitator of negotiations, but no one should be telling Israel that it must be and really that it must abide by some agreement made by others thousands of miles away that don’t even really know what’s happening to Israel, to anything in the area.” It isn’t surprising that that sentence got a round of applause.
Later in his speech, Mr. Trump said “When you live in a society where the firefighters are the heroes, little kids want to be firefighters. When you live in a society where athletes and movie stars are the heroes, little kids want to be athletes and movie stars. In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews. We can’t let this continue. We can’t let this happen any longer.”
That’s a puzzling statement from the perspective that Mr. Trump has said that he’d like to “be sort of a neutral guy” with Israel. It’s a bit mind-boggling how a US president could remain neutral when young Palestinians’ heroes “murder Jews.” It makes less sense after adding this to the context:
In Palestinian textbooks and mosques, you’ve got a culture of hatred that has been fomenting there for years. And if we want to achieve peace, they’ve got to go out and they’ve got to start this educational process. They have to end education of hatred. They have to end it and now. There is no moral equivalency. Israel does not name public squares after terrorists. Israel does not pay its children to stab random Palestinians.
Mr. Trump is right. The Palestinian Authority teaches children to hate Jews almost from birth. Many Palestinian children hate Jews before they’re 5 years old. What was missing from Mr. Trump’s speech was a plan that would change Palestinian children’s behavior. Mr. Trump certainly didn’t how he’d effect that type of change in this paragraph:
President Obama thinks that applying pressure to Israel will force the issue. But it’s precisely the opposite that happens. Already half of the population of Palestine has been taken over by the Palestinian ISIS and Hamas, and the other half refuses to confront the first half, so it’s a very difficult situation that’s never going to get solved unless you have great leadership right here in the United States.
We’ll get it solved. One way or the other, we will get it solved.
Saying that he’ll get it solved one “way or the other” isn’t a plan. It’s a rallying cry. While it’s apparent that Mr. Trump’s address was well-received, the truth is that he still hasn’t demonstrated that he’s the leader with solutions to the trickiest of international problems.
This speech was a good starting point but it isn’t likely that Israel’s leaders trust him yet. Israel’s leaders likely will demand more details on how a Trump administration would make Israel safer.