Letter to Donald Trump about Israel, Palestine, and Settlement Expansion

January 2017
Donald Trump
725 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Dear Mr. Trump,

I am a New Yorker, scholar of Middle East language and culture, and a blogger on Middle East creative production — this is my website, ilikum.org.

I have listened to your speeches and read your tweets concerning Israel and the United Nations resolution 2334 aimed to curb Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem, and I am deeply concerned by your response.

There is a great deal of conversation among politicians and media worldwide as to what to do about growing violent extremism in the Middle East, and I can tell you, extremism does not spontaneously erupt, nor is it an indigenous quality of peoples of the Middle East either. It is a byproduct of decades misguided policies by the West and a response to perpetual Western meddling that people in the Middle East know too well, and we as Westerners choose to ignore. It is a end-game response to enact dramatic change when all other options fail.

Bashar al-Assad, his similarly tyrant father, Hafaz, Muammar Gaddafi, the Shaw of Iran, and Suddam Hussein are all direct decedents of Western policy that placed Western-favoring leaders in power. These leaders and their small circles of supporters, without exception, were the primary beneficiaries of these policies, while the people under their rule suffered greatly, often in squalor while their fascist leaders sat on untold wealth.

With this history in mind, all of the world, not just people in the Middle East, is watching you and the United States and how you handle the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. If you decide that supporting Israel means giving them carte blanche permission to use violence to deprive Palestinians of homeland, you are in fact fueling and encouraging ongoing violence, death, and destruction in the Middle East, Europe, and on US soil.

Please, Mr. Trump ­— do not permit this to happen. There is a way for Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side, but it will not be possible if we side with Israel only and support this very wrong 21st century apartheid that spawns radicalism. If the Middle Easterners see the United States, who preaches freedom and democracy, endorsing the subjugation and extermination of Palestinians, they will see a continuation of the deeply flawed interference from the past that sustains the turmoil rampant in the region today.

There are extraordinary people with expertise in the history and political intricacies of Western relations to the Middle East that I and others can recommend to you and your cabinet to create strategy that reverses this unhelpful type of policy and instead supports all peoples of the Middle East to prosper together. But please, help Israel by helping them live side by side with Palestinians, not by exterminating them.

Thomas Royal Nimen
New York City

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