Much of the coverage of the upcoming presidential inauguration has focused on the low demand for tickets, and the Trump team’s difficulties in convincing prominent entertainers to perform. But there’s one group that apparently needs little convincing to attend – leaders of the Israeli settlement movement.
Reports that several leaders of the settlement movement and right-wing MKs will attend the inauguration drive home just how excited the movement is about the impending Trump presidency. Trump has surrounded himself with advisers who have close ideological and financial ties to the settlements. That includes his nominee to serve as US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who is the leader of American Friends of Beit El, a group that provides funding and support to the West Bank settlement.
Given this, it’s no surprise that settler leaders expect the incoming administration to be a powerful ally in their ongoing struggle to undermine the two-state solution and to expand and maintain their control in the West Bank. Several of them have stated that they received official invitations to attend the inauguration from “close circles around the president-elect.” One of the attendees, Yesha Council chief foreign envoy Oded Revivi, told the AP that “I definitely agree that we are now getting the VIP treatment, which is something that we have been working on for many years…You could basically argue that it has taken 50 years, since 1967, to be recognized on such a level for such an event.”
If settlement leaders truly are going to receive the “VIP treatment” from the Trump White House, that could mean a major break in decades of bipartisan US support for the two-state solution – and spell dangerous things for Israel’s future as a secure, democratic homeland for the Jewish people.