by Marie Shuqha
With almost two weeks past the US elections and Trump’s victory, it might be time to shed some light on what this unforeseen outcome might mean to relations between Israel and the EU in general and more specific between President- elect Donald Trump and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to the ambassador of the United States of America to the state of Israel – Dan Shapiro – the security and economic relations between the US and Israel will remain strong and will become even stronger because the people of such two democracies share the same values.
The remaining question however is how the rest of the world will react to these relations. For example: no US administration has ever recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital, yet during his campaign trail, Trump has promised to do so. Furthermore, he also promised to move the US embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As this might be some kind of form of reconciliation for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is however not in favour to other countries who don’t recognize Palestine as an official state.
So what will Trump as president mean for the Middle-East exactly? There are three key-points that shortly describe the possible upcoming changes.
First of all, the Syrian people will be the very first to suffer from this election. Trump made it very clear that his intentions were to close the borders so Syrian refugees won’t be able to enter the country anymore. It goes without saying that this of course, concerns Mexican refugees as well.
Secondly, the new-found friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin will accommodate Russia’s interests. This means that that accepting Russia’s role in Syria as positive and not condemning Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Lastly, not only the relationship between the US and Putin will improve under Trump’s reign, but also the relationship between the US and Netanyahu. Since the US is a strong supporter of Israel, the Palestinian people will be a direct victim of this election’s outcome as Netanyahu might be given a ‘carte blanche’ to do as he pleases.
So far, many EU leaders have commented on the election outcome. Some positive, some careful and even sceptical. Vatican City has congratulated Trump, so did German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying that alliance with the US will remain an essential for German foreign policy.
French president François Hollande warns for a “period of uncertainty” and is concerned that Trump’s victory means that France must also be stronger. The foreign policy chief of the European Union, Federica Mogherini, reacted cautiously to the victory of Trump and said that the ties between the EU and the United States go beyond a political change. May Rini: “We will continue to work together and rediscover the power of Europe”.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen described Trump’s victory as a “great shock”. The French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault reacted cautiously as well. He questions the personality of Trump but indicated that they will work with him. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas tweeted that the world is not at its end, but that everything will be a little crazier.
Meanwhile, US ambassadors in Belgium tried to calm European minds. According to the US Ambassador of NATO’s Douglas Lute, the close collaboration between the NATO and the United States will remain: “There is a lot of continuity in NATO. It has always been a bipartisan enterprise.” The US EU Ambassador Anthony Gardner stressed that so far there aren’t any assumptions yet about the Trump administration made by the Europeans: “It is too early to draw conclusions. Any US government will realize the importance of the bond between the US and Europe. Give it time.
In general, EU leaders aren’t happy with Trump’s victory and it is no secret that Netanyahu isn’t the most favourable prime minister either. This leads to having a Trump-Netanyahu pact that could be a treat to the EU. With having an unforeseen Brexit, there is only guessing to what this partnership might mean to the EU and how EU leaders will react.