President-elect Donald Trump publicly pressured President Obama via Twitter to veto a United Nations resolution that would condemn the continued construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The incoming administration has split with the Obama administration on policies regarding Israel, most recently with potential officials confirming Trump’s intent to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
William Booth is the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the Washington Post. He spoke to Marketplace about the changes to come to the American-Israeli relationship.
On the possibility of a new economic policy with Israel:
The short answer to this is the U.S.-Israel relationship on trade, and on tech and on defense development stuff couldn’t be better under President Obama, even though there were some complaints about him in other regards. As [President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] tussled in the press and probably a little bit behind closed doors, the Israeli Defense Forces and the Pentagon, their relationship was just as tight as could be. In fact, at the end of the day, they signed this deal for $38 billion over 10 years. No other country gets this sort of largess from the U.S. taxpayers. And just a week ago, I was down in the southern deserts of Israel waiting for two F35 airplanes to land. And Israel is the first country outside of the United States to get the Lockheed Martin F35. Whether that’s a curse or a blessing, everyone thinks it’s a blessing here.
On American investment in Israel under the Trump administration:
It’s interesting with Trump because we don’t know. Trump might give the Israelis less money. I mean, he’s locked into giving them $38 billion for the next 10 years, but he can fiddle with that. Trump has often told countries that are well to do like Japan, or maybe Israel – it’s a very developed country – pay your own way. But in terms of business to business, and anything that Trump can do, his new secretaries can do to improve the business climate I imagine they would probably do, and the Israelis would suck that up.
Click the audio player above to hear their full conversation.
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