Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns: Middle East Notes, February 2, 2017

Posted on Feb 5, 2017

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The executive orders of the initial days of the Trump administration are causing a mixture of fear, concern and uncertainty for many of the leaders and people of the US, Israel, the Moslem nations and most of the world. It is as if a great river has suddenly changed its course, depth and banks causing the river boats to slow or stop, and the people of the towns along the river bank to be concerned about their future and even survival. The Israeli right wing is elated and is challenging Netanyahu’s leadership (which is too moderate in their opinion) even while he is facing corruption accusations. The TV, radio and print media of both Israel and the U.S. that expresses disapproval of and “fact checks” its elected leaders is experiencing increasing criticism by these same leaders in what has become a contest between observable realities, “facts of the ground” and “post truth” and “alternate reality.”

The six featured articles and the related links in this issue of the Middle East Notes focus on similarities between Netanyahu and Trump; the latter’s stirring up anti-American propaganda by banning Syrian refugees and Muslim immigrants; a Trump administration whose policies are not yet known; Palestinian alarm that this administration will end the possibility of any two-state solution; concern that Trump’s voice will echo throughout the world and will become a source of inspiration and legitimacy for the extreme right, from Europe to Israel; and Israeli intelligence agencies finding that the Iran nuclear agreement is holding.

Please note: Opinions expressed in the following articles do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.

  • Chemi Shalev in Haaretz compares Netanyahu with Trump when he says that Israelis are used to leaders who attack the media, feel like victims, lie through their teeth and pay no price for corruption.
  • Chemi Shalev writes again in Haaretz that Trump is a hero now for Muslim-haters who, in some countries, might even be the majority and that banning Syrian refugees and Muslim immigrants will help anti-American propaganda more than U.S. national security. 
  • Mazal Mualem states in Al-Monitor Netanyahu must cope with a Trump administration whose policies are not yet known while facing pressures from the far right to annex settlement blocs and other pressures from Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.
  • Hanan Ashraw writes in Newsweek that as Trump assumes power in Washington D.C., many in occupied Palestine are deeply alarmed about what the future holds for them. They fear for the two-state solution that for decades has been the internationally accepted framework for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and an end to Israel’s military occupation of our lands, which is now in its 50th year.
  • Gideon Levy writes in Haaretz that Trump’s voice will echo throughout the world and will become a source of inspiration and legitimacy for the extreme right, from Europe to Israel. He notes that if his inauguration speech were to be translated into German, it would have the same spirit and the same intention as “Deutschland uber Alles.” 
  • Amos Harel writes that a former Military Intelligence chief  told Haaretz that Israeli intelligence agencies have found that the nuclear agreement is holding, that Iran complies to its terms and that if the U.S. goes back on this deal with conflict developing with Iran, other powers would leave Israel hanging.
  • Links to recent CMEP Bulletins

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