Europe May Finally Be Ready to Make Its Peace with Israel

During the recent round of fighting, Slovenia, Austria, and the Czech Republic all flew Israeli flags from important government buildings as a sign of solidarity. And such sentiments were not limited to Jerusalem’s emerging Central European allies: Western European governments, which normally trip over themselves to express their “deep concern” over Israel’s actions, or to issue disingenuous calls for both sides to stop the violence, were unusually silent. Germany’s Angela Merkel even expressed frank support for the Jewish state. Benjamin Haddad sees many economic and geopolitical factors at work, including the Abraham Accords, but also something deeper:

Facing terror attacks in the last few years, Europeans have increasingly [seen] Israel as a country facing similar challenges, the canary in the coalmine for European democracies.

For the [European Union], the disasters of World War II called for cooperation [and for] technocratic governance transcending the ills of the nation-state. For Jerusalem, the tragic fate of Jews in Europe urged them to overcome their historic powerlessness and build a strong nation supported by . . . a powerful army. As they integrated the continent, Europeans increasingly viewed their successful model as the shape of things to come for the rest of the world. . . . And what better place to apply the European model of reconciliation than [to the Israel-Palestinian conflict]?

But things did not turn out this way. Fifteen years ago, it was commonplace for observers to forewarn growing Israeli diplomatic isolation if it failed to find a sustainable and peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue. These predictions did not come to pass. With Europe and the United States, of course, but also with new partnerships in India, Russia, and Africa, Israel has more economic and diplomatic partners than it ever had. Meanwhile, . . . Europeans are questioning their model. . . . Maybe the sense of history is tilting toward Jerusalem, after all?

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Angela Merkel, Austria, Europe and Israel, European Union, Israel diplomacy


Israel’s Retaliation against the Houthis Sends a Message to the U.S., and to Its Arab Allies

The drone that struck a Tel Aviv high-rise on Thursday night is believed to have traveled over 2,000 kilometers, flying from Yemen over Egypt and then above the Mediterranean before veering eastward toward the Israeli coast. Since October, the Houthis have launched over 200 drones at Israel. Nor is this the first attempt to strike Tel Aviv, only the first successful one. Noah Rothman observes that the Houthis’ persistent attacks on Israel and on international shipping are largely the result of the U.S.-led coalition’s anemic response:

Had the Biden administration taken a more proactive and vigorous approach to neutralizing the Houthis’ capabilities, Israel would not be obliged to expand to Yemen the theater of operations in the war Hamas inaugurated on October 7. The prospects of a regional war grow larger by the day, not because Israel cannot “take the win,” as President Biden reportedly told Benjamin Netanyahu following a full-scale direct Iranian attack on the Jewish state, but because hostile foreign actors are killing its citizens. Jerusalem is obliged to defend them and the sovereignty of Israel’s borders.

Biden’s hesitancy was fueled by his apprehension over the prospect of a “wider war” in the Middle East. But his hesitancy is what is going to give him the war he so cravenly sought to avoid.

In this context, the nature of the Israeli response is significant: rather than follow the American strategy of striking isolated weapons depots and the like, IDF jets struck the port city of Hodeida—the sort of major target the U.S. has shied away from. The mission was likely the furthest-ever carried out by the Israel Air Force, hitting a site 200 kilometers further from Israel than Tehran. Yoel Guzansky and Ilan Zalayat comment:

The message that Israel sent was intended to reach the moderate Arab countries, the West, and especially the United States. . . . The message to the coalition countries is that “the containment” had failed and the Houthis must be hit harder. The Hodeida port is the lifeline of the Houthi economy and continued damage to it will make it extremely difficult for this economy, which is also facing significant American sanctions.

Read more at National Review

More about: Houthis, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy