National Security Strategy: ‘Israel Is Not the Cause’ of Middle East Problems

Israeli and American flag on Jerusalem wall (Ahmad Gharabli / AFP / Getty)
Ahmad Gharabli / AFP / Getty

President Donald Trump’s new National Security Strategy, released Monday, revises U.S. policy to indicate that while the U.S. is committed to facilitating peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Israel is not the cause of the problems in the Middle East.

The relevant section of the document reads:

For generations the cofflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been under-
stood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region’s problems. States have increasingly found common inter- ests with Israel in confronting common threats.

Today, the United States has the opportunity to catalyze greater economic and political cooperation that will expand prosperity for those who want to partner with us. By revitalizing partnerships with reform-minded nations and encouraging cooperation among partners in the region, the United States can promote stability and a balance of power that favors U.S. interests.

We will strengthen partnerships, and form new ones, to help advance security through stability. Whenever possible, we will encourage gradual reforms. We will support efforts to counter violent ideologies and increase respect for the dignity of individuals. We remain committed to help- ing our partners achieve a stable and prosperous region, including through a strong and integrated Gulf Cooperation Council. We will strengthen our long-term strategic partnership with Iraq as an independent state. We will seek a settlement to the Syrian civil war that sets the conditions for refugees to return home and rebuild their lives in safety. We will work with partners to deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon and neutralize Iranian malign influence. We remain committed to helping facilitate a comprehensive peace agree- ment that is acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians.

The National Security Strategy would seem to contradict White House adviser Jared Kushner’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Earlier this month, at the Saban Forum, organized by the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, Kushner offered the conventional view that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the center of the Middle East’s problems in general.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.