JERUSALEM, Israel – From Iran to Saudi Arabia and beyond, US President Donald Trump has put his stamp on the region.
Perhaps the most dramatic decision, acting where other presidents had not, was moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
US and Israeli Flags in Jerusalem, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
“What a glorious day. Remember this moment. President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Middle East analyst and author Jonathan Spyer called it a “bold move.”
“The decades of talk about that and then, frankly sort of empty talk, suddenly it happens. That’s a very bold move that I think has, you know, again really changed the whole, sort of basics, you know, topography in some way of the Israeli Palestinian situation,” Spyer told CBN News.
US President Donald Trump Hosts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House
That move strengthened the US-Israeli relationship that suffered under the Obama administration.
Israeli Minister of Diplomacy Michael Oren said the Trump administration has strengthened the Jewish state.
“Many of us grew up in a world of Pax Americana, and we felt safe under those great eagle wings of the United States of America, and those wings have been a fluttering away. How shall I say recently? And we feel now that they’re back. And it gives us strength. It gives us strength sometimes to even be – to be conciliatory. Israel needs that behind,” Oren said.
The next step: Isolate Iran by pulling out of the questionable nuclear deal.
“The exit from the JCPOA, from the nuclear deal with Iran, a very major watershed moment, which I think announced what we’ve been discussing, i.e., announced the beginnings of a much broader process to roll back Iran that’s been allowed to roll across the region unopposed over the last decade,” Spyer said.
The decision to confront Iran also began to reverse a trend.
“I think a lot of what they’re doing is trying to repair the damage to America’s position in the Middle East after the Obama administration wrecked America’s reputation as an ally by embracing America’s chief enemy in the Middle East, Iran, at the expense of America’s allies, whether it’s Israel or the Sunni Arab nations that were betrayed by the Obama administration,” said senior contributing editor to the Jerusalem Post Caroline Glick.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Welcomes US President Donald Trump to Israel, Photo, GPO
Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz said there’s been a “complete realignment.”
“The region is going through a complete realignment, right, in the last two years that President Trump has been in office,” Katz told CBN News. “What’s happened is you’ve started to see that all the other countries in this region are beginning to recognize that for the last few years. Saudi Arabia and Israel are in close contact in the shadows behind closed doors. The United Arab Emirates and Israel are talking to one another. There are business relationships, intelligence relationships, military relationships between the Israelis and the Gulf States.”
Trump also brought changes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
President Trump with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House
“I believe President Trump has broken the paradigm for diplomacy here in the Middle East that got encrusted for about 50 years now, where that started. It’s broken that old formula for peacemaking here and really strengthened Israel’s cause,” International Christian Embassy Jerusalem Vice President David Parsons told CBN News. “So we have to thank Trump for that, whether it’s moving the embassy, closing the PLO mission in Washington, cutting all funding to UNWRA, challenging the way UNWRA has a different definition for refugee – for Palestinian refugees than any other refugees. All across the board, Trump is hitting my bucket list of things that should have been down long ago.”
Another major development… standing up for persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
“They made human rights and particularly the persecuted – religious persecution – to be a priority,” Dr. Michael Youssef, founder of Leading the Way, said.
The most dramatic example: Trump put US-Turkish relations on the line for imprisoned Pastor Andrew Brunson.
“They’re ready to do almost damage to the trade and the economy with Turkey over a pastor. And all of the secular media without exception are saying a pastor, who cares about a pastor? The trade with Turkey is much more important. The money and the value of the lira is much more important. But the Trump administration said no. A pastor who’s falsely accused and is in prison is important to us and we’re willing to really put our money where our mouths are and are taking a strong stand,” Youssef said.
There was also stated support for Iranians who protested their own leadership, a call the Obama administration ignored.
“Do people on the streets know the difference? Do they know Trump is standing with them?” CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell asked Youssef.
“Trust me, they do. I talk – I talk with the person in the street because I have relatives there. They are the people in the street and they do appreciate this more than I can express in words,” Youssef said.
All these bold decisions resonate in the Middle East where strength matters.
US President Donald Trump Speaks with the Press
“I think in the broader Middle East, it’s someone who will stand on his word. It’s someone who is not afraid to get involved. It’s someone who will stand up,” said Middle East and Islamic analyst Mike Kerem.
“When America’s strong, Israel is strong,” Katz said. “When America’s involved in this region, that sends a message to Israel’s detractors and Israel’s potential enemies, but if you mess with the United States, you mess with Israel, you’re messing with the United States, and vice-versa. And that is a message that essentially we didn’t hear for a while and it’s again being heard throughout the region.”
The world hopes the Trump administration’s next message is the unveiling of its long-awaited peace plan.