US President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has urged Israel to bridle its overt excitement over their candidate’s surprise victory and what it could mean for the Jewish settlement enterprise.
“We’ve been receiving official messages from Trump’s team. They’re expecting us to act modestly,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told a press conference on Wednesday. “There are people in his close circle that we know well, they’re telling us ,‘Wait. Don’t set facts on the ground.’”
Lieberman continued by hoping his fellow Israelis will “have enough sense to stop the jubilation and public enthusiasm. It is undoubtedly damaging.”
Numerous Israeli public figures, including government ministers, have hailed Trump’s taking the White House as the end of the failed land-for-peace process and any notion of an independent Palestinian Arab state.
Israeli Jews would enjoy unrestrained approval from the Trump Administration to build in all areas of their biblical heartland, many claimed.
And it could be argued that they were justified in those assertions.
Just a week ago, shortly after his upset win over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump’s close legal advisor, Jason Greenblatt, told Israel’s Army Radio that America’s next president “does not view the settlements as being an obstacle for peace.”
Earlier in his campaign, Trump told the UK’s Daily Mail that in regards to the settlement enterprise, Israel must “keep going. They have to keep moving forward.”
Trump has expressed a desire to get involved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but insists his administration, contrary to its predecessors, will not impose conditions or formulas on either side.
Lieberman says that Israel must work now to reach an understanding under which the incoming Trump Administration will officially recognize the major Jewish settlement blocs and support much-needed construction within their boundaries.