US and Israeli administrations have clashed previously on American construction projects built on land that was taken from native peoples.
Washington, March 27 – Political and diplomatic sensitivities revolving around construction on land taken from indigenous peoples have US President Donald Trump exercising caution before his administration approves development projects in the country’s declared capital, White House sources reported today, and the president has dispatched a special envoy to negotiate with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the proposed construction.
Jonathan Greenblatt spent the weekend in Jerusalem clarifying for the prime minister the Trump administration’s intentions regarding the construction projects, which are slated to occupy land the United States took from native tribes. Construction of that nature has riled indigenous rights activists in the past, and the president aims to reach an understanding with Netanyahu over the projects to prevent Israeli objections to the building, objection that might carry diplomatic or economic consequences.
American officials with knowledge of the talks reported that no progress had been made on an understanding. “These are the closest of allies, and allies can disagree. The key is frank discussion and the realization that the friendship, the alliance, is stronger than any one issue, however strategic,” explained State Department spokesman Mark Toner. “But we and Mr, Netanyahu will continue our talks so that we do not end up advancing any construction that he feels is contrary to his interests. It’s the dialogue here that is critical, regardless of the specifics of any understanding we reach.”
US and Israeli administrations have clashed previously on American construction projects built on land that was taken from native peoples, with claims of genocide and ethnic cleansing often characterizing descriptions of those events. While the US has managed to escape UN condemnation or sanctions in response to those activities, successive presidential administrations have worked to maintain friendly relations with other influential countries such as Israel to prevent such resolutions from being brought to the UN Security Council.
Some US lawmakers, however, bristle under allowing another country’s policies to exert effective veto power over what they consider domestic matters. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) argued that the US should push ahead with its development plans as a matter of national sovereignty, regardless of what other nations think of the legitimacy of such moves.
“Now is the time to build, build, build,” insisted Ellison. “We’ve never had a friend in Jerusalem as strong as Netanyahu, and if we don’t take advantage of this opportunity to assert our rights to all of this land, how can we ever expect the world to accept we belong here at all? We shouldn’t be begging Bibi for permission. He appreciates initiative and strong leaders, and our relationship will weather whatever trouble it may or may not precipitate. I doubt we’ll have an Israeli administration as friendly as this one for a long time, if ever.”
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