Trump Administration Needs to Rethink Policies on Israel and Saudi Arabia
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Before taking the oath of office, President Donald J. Trump vowed to “drain the swamp” and end politics as usual. This could not be further from the truth, as his cabinet is filled with long-serving members of government and Wall Street bankers. While he has been keeping the swamp well intact, there is another swamp that the president has to take into consideration and one that needs just as much draining as the swamp in Washington. That is the swamp that is holding the fact that the U.S. is supporting war criminals across the world and is a policy that needs to be stopped, no matter how unpopular.
The U.S. is currently in an unending entwinement of relations in the Middle East, with allies and enemies scattered all across the area. While there is no clean nation in the region, the U.S. and its allies have painted an image to the public that makes them seem like good players. This could not be further from the truth, especially when observing the U.S.’s two biggest partners in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
On Feb. 15, President Trump held a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The meeting, while showing some positives, showed a scary reality that the U.S. will once again turn their backs to the human rights abuses and war crimes of the Israeli government, as Trump said that the Israelis and Palestinians would have to find a peace deal on their own. The one positive of the meeting was that Trump had announced that he had asked Prime Minister Netanyahu to “hold back” on the building of illegal settlements in Palestinian territory. This is a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions, though the Israeli government has been told to halt the building of settlements for years, and have simply ignored these requests. However, President Trump also said that the Israelis and Palestinians will have to reach a peace deal by themselves and with the current government of Israel refusing to recognize Palestine as a sovereign nation, this could have major ramifications on the region, as the U.S. has been working to settle a two-state solution in the region for years, and Trump has seemingly turned his back on the efforts. If there is to ever be peace in the Middle East, there must be a sovereign Palestinian nation in the play.
As well as turning his back to the two-state solution, Trump and Netanyahu have also turned their backs to the continued war crimes and human rights violations. As previously stated, the Israeli government rips the Geneva Conventions apart with every new settlement that is approved. However, this is not the extent of the violations. During the numerous wars, Israel has used white phosphorus, a chemical that causes extreme mutilations to the body, on civilian areas, used human shields and bombed schools and hospitals, as according to NBC. These actions have been largely swept under the rug by the U.S., despite numerous other nations taking action. This, by no means, means that the Palestinians have done no wrong, but it does show that a one-state solution simply cannot work in the region, and that a free and independent Palestine needs to be recognized sooner rather than later. However, with Trump as president and Netanyahu as prime minister, this will continue be a dream for the foreseeable future.
On the other hand, the U.S.’s continued support of Saudi Arabia must be ended immediately. The kingdom is one of the biggest human rights violators on the planet. As they still use the dark age actions of public executions, the rejection of simple liberties, discrimination of people based on their religion and the fact that women are not even allowed in stadiums are just a few examples of the human rights abuses of the Saudi kingdom. The U.S. simply should not support the human rights abuses of Saudi Arabia and should cut ties, but this simply will not happen, as the U.S. has a large trade partnership with the kingdom, largely revolving around oil. However, the oil simply is not worth the human rights abuses, and the U.S. can trade for oil elsewhere. Not only this, but the U.S. is army the Saudi military, which is conducting operations in Yemen that are killing numerous civilians in the civil war that is ravaging the country. The U.S. has this blood on their hands and should stop arming the Saudi kingdom immediately.
While the U.S. needs to have ties in the Middle East to promote interests in the region, they must do it in a way that is standing up for human rights and standing against war crimes. As the Middle East continues to spiral out of control, the best ways to try and curb this is to recognize the State of Palestine as an independent nation and to cut ties with Saudi Arabia. Doing this will further promote peace in the region and will promote American interests in the area.