US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that “we give Israel $4.5 billion” security every year, and so “Israel will be very good” even after the US withdrawal from Syria.
The comments, quoted by Haaretz, were made by Trump in reply to a question by reporters on how the US withdrawal from Syria will impact Israel.
“I spoke with Bibi. I told Bibi, you know we give Israel 4.5 billion dollars a year. And they are doing very well at defending themselves,” the President said as he spoke to reporters on the way back from his surprise trip to American troops stationed in Iraq.
He added that “I’m the one that moved the embassy to Jerusalem. I was the one who was willing to do that. So that’s the way it is – we are going to take great care of Israel. Israel is going to be good. We give Israel 4.5 billion a year. And we give frankly a lot more than that if you look at the books. They’ve been doing a good job.”
I think it was terrible that Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that he capitulated to Israel by ending the nuke treaty with Iran.
But I’m happy he’s telling Bibi and the U.S. establishment press to pipe down. It’s about time a U.S. President acts like the boss in this relationship and makes a very public point that the U.S. gives Israel $4.5 billion a year (and that’s only what’s on the books). I’m sure a lot of Americans don’t know that. It’s not something the establishment parties and media like to talk about. But it’s a great leverage point and should be used when Israel complains about the U.S. acting in its own interests.
I don’t have much hope that Trump will use this leverage to break with U.S. tradition of allowing Israel to abuse the Palestinians any way they want to, unfortunately.