Palestinians Slam Trump’s Pick for Security Advisor Bolton

Trump's pick for NSA John Bolton
Former United Nations ambassador John Bolton. Photo: AFP

A senior Palestinian official on Friday slammed U.S. President Donald J. Trump‘s choice of hardliner John Bolton as his new national security advisor. Mr. Trump on Thursday announced that Mr. Bolton, an arch-hawk and former United Nations ambassador, would replace Army General HR McMaster.

Mr. Bolton is known for his strong support for Israel and hostility to Iran. He has previously said the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dead. He has also strongly argued for the U.S. to abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which President Trump said must be “fixed” by May 12 or the United States will walk away.

“This man has a long history of hostility to Palestinians, dating to when he was at the United Nations, where he was protecting Israeli immunity,” senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi told AFP, referring to U.S. vetoes of U.N. resolutions targeting Israel.

With Mr. Bolton’s appointment, she said, the Trump administration “has joined with extremist Zionists, fundamentalist Christians and white racists. All this will lead to a devastating reality for Palestine and the region.”

In contrast, members of Israel‘s government, considered the most rightwing in the country’s history, hailed the appointment.

“President Trump is continuing to appoint true friends of Israel to senior positions. John Bolton stands out among them,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home said.

“An excellent appointment, Bolton has a lot of experience and is an original thinker,” Ms. Shaked said in a statement. “The Trump administration is turning out to be the most friendly administration to Israel ever.”

And Environment Minister Zeev Elkin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s right-wing ruling Likud party, said Mr. Bolton was “not unknown to Israel.”

“He has been, unquestionably, a friend of Israel for many years, including in his position as U.S. ambassador to the U.N.,” Mr. Elkin told Tel Aviv radio station 102 FM. “I have no doubt it will be convenient for us to work with him.”