Last Friday, the United Nations Security Council caused an uproar when they voted to condemn Israeli settlements being built on Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. America could have vetoed the controversial resolution but decided to abstain from the vote instead. Shortly after, Israel's right-wing government lashed out at President Obama and accused him of orchestrating the vote. When the press began asking for proof of the alleged conspiracy, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer said the evidence would only be presented to President-elect Donald Trump when he took office. And, of course, Trump used all of the manufactured outrage around the vote as a weapon against the Obama Administration on Wednesday morning.
Trump once again took to his favorite media outlet, Twitter, to attack the president:
“We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”
This Israeli persecution that Trump is accusing the Obama Administration of simply does not exist. Under Obama, the Israeli government has been the recipient of billions of dollars in foreign aid. According to the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. contributed $2.775 billion in 2010, $3 billion in 2011, $3.07 billion in 2012 and $3.15 billion per year from 2013-2018. In fact, in 2012, Shmuel Even, an expert of Israel's defense at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, told Business Insider that 21 percent of Israel's defense budget comes from the United States. That hardly seems like something an unfriendly and disrespectful government would do.
Furthermore, this is far from the first time the United States has decided that it is against Israel's continued encroachment into occupied Palestinian land. As far back as 1982, President Reagan spoke out against Israel's actions, saying:
“The United States will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements during the transitional period. Indeed, the immediate adoption of a settlement freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks. Further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel and only diminishes the confidence of the Arabs that a final outcome can be freely and fairly negotiated.”
And in 2005, President Bush warned Israel against establishing illegal settlements on Palestinian land:
"I’ve been very clear about Israel has an obligation under the road map. That’s no expansion of settlements. I look forward to continuing to work and dialogue with Israel on this subject...But there is a road map, there is a process, and we’ve all agreed to it. And part of that process is no expansion of settlements."
Israel, however, has repeatedly ignored pleas to stop building on Palestinian land and that is what ultimately led to the United Nations' vote on Friday. Trump, the GOP and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can scream persecution all they want but at the end of the day anyone with a brain can see this is just a smoke screen. If Netanyahu would stop his deplorable and violent takeover of land that does not belong to his country, there would be no issue. Perhaps if Trump spent a little less time tweeting and a little more time reading, he would understand that.
This kind of ignorance can be deadly, especially when we're talking about the president-elect of what is arguably the most powerful country in the world. While world leaders like Putin and Netanyahu will rejoice at Trump's arrogance and manifest inexperience, the rest will be forced to consider the United States an increasingly dangerous wild card with a madman at the helm.