Like the majority of American Jews who voted for her, we would have preferred Hillary Clinton to be elected President of the United States. One week later, it is still difficult for us to imagine how the most powerful nation in the world will be led from now on by a man who, according to his campaign statements, seems unpredictable, to say the least. But in the United States, like everywhere else, his rhetoric, built on fear and rejection of others, appeals to people’s emotion, not to reason, and it has convinced a population tempted by self-isolation. All columnists and leaders of the world wonder now if President Trump will fulfill the promises made by candidate Trump. We certainly cannot answer that question, even though the new President has adopted more moderate views. The composition of his team will probably be a first indication.
The Israeli right rejoices immediately at the results of this election and at the nice promises made by candidate Trump, such as the transfer of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Among them, voices already are heard in favour of the acceleration of the Israeli settlement plans put on hold for fear of possible criticism by the Obama administration, or else, in favour of the ultimate death of the Two-State Solution. Another promise of candidate Trump, dear to Netanyahu’s heart, the review of the agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme, supported by a majority of Américan Jews and actively supported by JStreet. If President Trump took such a decision, it would probably be supported by the monarchies of the Gulf and by autocratic Muslim regimes, but it would have huge implications in the region.
The issue worrying the most Netanyahu relates to the hypothetical legacy Obama could leave on the Middle East, the last two months of his administration: like former President Clinton, will he make a statement defining the parameters for a solution of the conflict ? Will he merely not object to a potential motion brought to the attention of the Security Council ? Will he support the French idea of an international Conference in case it takes shape ? Obama may be reluctant to take an initiative which his successor would have to cancel.
Anyway, we are now facing volatile times. But our fundamentals remain stable. The conflict won’t be solved before the day when a majority of both peoples will be convinced it has to be and will press its leaders to take hard decisions. Seeing the lack of political will to undertake this task today, the civil society alone is rallying round through its NGO’s, in order to put it in the center of the public debate. This is the reason why we have invited to Paris Avi Buskila, new director of Shalom Akhshav, and Yuval Rahamim, director of the Israeli NGO’s Forum for Peace. Come and meet them at the Cercle Bernard Lazare on Monday, November 28th, at 8. 30 p.m.