No, the U.S.-Israel Alliance Isn’t on the Brink of Disaster

Nov. 22 2022

With Benjamin Netanyahu returning to Balfour Street and a Democrat in the White House, writes Herb Keinon, we can expect to read “story after story about how U.S.-Israel relations are deteriorating and entering crisis mode.” But Keinon urges caution:

First, Joe Biden is not Barack Obama, and his feelings for Israel are deeper and more heartfelt than Obama’s ever were. Further, he does have a personal chemistry with Netanyahu that Netanyahu never shared with Obama. Secondly, two of the major sources of friction between Israel and the U.S. that existed during the Netanyahu-Obama years are not immediately on the agenda: Iran and the Palestinian issue.

While Biden’s team seemed hell-bent in the late summer to re-enter the nuclear deal with Iran, efforts to that effect later stalled and the negotiations broke down. Nevertheless, there was an expectation that—with the administration keen on finalizing a deal—the negotiations would resume after the midterm elections. But now the midterms are over, and much has transpired in the interim to render overwrought concern that Washington is on the verge of a new deal with Iran.

The same is true of the Palestinian issue. Biden is the first president in recent memory who has not put brokering an Israel-Palestinian deal at the top of his agenda.

While there is unlikely to be friction over the marquee issues, there will be constant friction over settlement building—as there has been for the last 50 years—and instances where Israel uses force that Washington will deem “disproportionate.” And each time this friction will come to the fore, there will be dire warnings in some quarters about a crisis in ties and the inevitability of a breakdown in the U.S.-Israel relationship. But all this should be taken with a grain of salt. Not every dispute, nor even every public slap on the wrist, presages a crisis.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship