Trump & Decades-Old US Policy On Israel, Palestine

US President Donald Trump’s recent indication that he is ready to accept any peace formula acceptable to Israel and Palestine is set to bring changes in the political equation in West Asia.
Although it is difficult to predict whether President Trump’s decision to discard the decades-old American policy advocating a two-state solution will resolve the Israel-Palestine crisis, it will certainly change the regional geopolitics.
President Trump recently said that he was looking at two-state and one-state and would like the one that both parties like. Interestingly, he made the comment in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. “I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one,” stressed the president. For the last two decades, Washington has been backing the two-state solution, with a Jewish Israel and Arab Palestine co-existing side by side. Now, Trump has decided to favour the best possible solution prescribed by other world powers and world bodies.
As the newly-elected president is well aware of the fact that Israel is trying hard to expand its settlements in occupied areas, he has urged Netanyahu to hold off on Israeli settlements, saying: “I’d like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit. It could be a deal that will be bigger and better than most people in the room can understand.”
The international community is yet to welcome Trump’s decision, as the president’s nominee for US Ambassador to Israel David M Friedman has backed news settlements, making clear that America might openly back the Israelis in West Asia (despite the president’s indication). Experts have also expressed serious concerns over President Trump’s hardline stand on the Iranian nuclear agreement. Calling the agreement “one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen”, Trump said: “My administration has already imposed new sanctions on Iran, and I will do more to prevent Iran from ever developing – I mean ever – a nuclear weapon.” Experts believe it is unlikely the American president is interested in resolving West Asian crises.
In a separate development, Washington has asked member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to start paying their shares. US defence Secretary James Mattis has reaffirmed America’s commitment to North Atlantic military alliance, but rebuked the other 27 member states for not paying their “fair share”. He warned that the US would “moderate its commitment” to the alliance formed in 1949 unless they boost their spending. As per the NATO guidelines, the member states must spend 2% of their GDP on defence. In 2016, the total NATO budget was USD 889.9 billion. Currently, the US spends 3.6% of its GDP or USD 608 billion in defence, while Greece spends 2.4% or USD 5.8 billion, the UK spends 2.2% or USD 59.9 billion, Estonia 2.2% or USD 0.513 billion, Poland 2% or USD 11.4 billion, France 1.8% or USD 49.9 billion, Turkey 1.6% or USD 14.7 billion, Germany 1.2% or USD 44.6 billion, Italy 1.1% or USD 23.1 billion and Canada spends 1% or USD 18.1 billion.



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