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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Jerusalem decision was step in the wrong direction

Fulton Gallagher’s letter of Jan. 28 lists President Trump’s policies and actions that Gallagher believes put our country on the right path. Included in that list was Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That decision, however, was a definite step in the wrong direction.

Instead of seriously negotiating an “ultimate deal” between the Israelis and Palestinians as he had promised, the president exacerbated the conflict. By unilaterally favoring the Israelis, Trump sacrificed the United States’ credibility in the eyes of the Palestinians. He gave Israel what it wanted without asking for anything in return.

Trump further decreased the likelihood of lasting peace by cutting $65 million out of a $125 million aid package for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, an organization that provides vital services to impoverished Palestinian refugees.

Since 1967, multiple U.S. administrations have characterized Israel’s construction of settlements in the West Bank as “ill-advised,” “unnecessarily provocative,” and “illegal.” Nevertheless, Israel has continued its creeping annexation of the West Bank with settlers now numbering over 800,000. In response to such intransigence, it should be asked why President Trump doesn’t call for huge cuts in the $3.8 billion military aid package that the United States gives annually to Israel.

Trump’s one-sided policies and actions toward Palestine and Israel are nothing to praise. They only make the path toward justice and peace in this longstanding conflict more difficult to navigate.

Fred Martin