Why America And Israel Are On The Verge Of Breaking Up
The United States and Israel have been extremely close allies for the larger part of the last century, and strong support for Israel has been a benchmark of US foreign policy for decades.
Recent events have placed this historic partnership in jeopardy, however. This has been particularly true in regards to the tense relationship between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It's no secret these two have an absolutely terrible rapport and can't seem to find common ground on any issues.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu was re-elected as Israel's prime minister.
President Obama has two more years in office, and many important issues involving both America and Israel are still up in the air. Thus, on top of a number of recent disagreements and slights, it's difficult to remain optimistic about the relationship between these two nations.
And this leads to the question: Are America and Israel on the verge of breaking up? It's difficult to say, but their partnership is certainly on the rocks. One might characterize what's probably about to happen as a not-so-amicable trial separation.
In order to understand the full picture, here's a general breakdown of what's caused this rift in American-Israeli relations.
Israel-Palestine Peace Process:
The conflict between Israel and Palestine is an incredibly complicated, divisive and ostensibly unsolvable issue.
Over the summer, violence between Israel and Palestine escalated to disturbing levels in Gaza. While the Obama administration supported Israel's right to defend itself, it also signaled that Netanyahu's use of force may have been disproportionate at times.
This led to disagreements and insults between the two leaders.
The Obama administration supports a two-state solution. Shortly before the election, however, Netanyahu stated he no longer supported this route and would not condone a separate Palestinian state. This could have far-reaching and detrimental implications in terms of peace in the Middle East.
The US was extremely unsettled by Netanyahu's assertion and may begin relinquishing support of Israel in the United Nations.
Netanyahu has since backedtracked on his statement surrounding a two-state solution. Regardless, it's apparent that Obama and Netanyahu disagree over how to approach Arab-Israeli relations, among other issues.
Iran's Nuclear Deal:
President Obama, along with other global partners, has been negotiating with Iran over its disputed nuclear program.
No one wants Iran to develop nuclear weapons. However, if the country agrees to extreme limitations on its program as well as extensive inspections, then the West will agree to lift debilitating economic sanctions.
Netanyahu doesn't want Iran to develop nuclear power whatsoever. He has done everything he can to derail these talks, which included delivering a controversial speech recently in front of Congress on the subject.
The speech was seen as a direct slap in the face to President Obama because it was meant to hinder ongoing discussions between his administration, other leaders and Iran.
Israeli politics have even served to further the already deep divide between Democrats and Republicans: One of Obama's greatest political opponents, Republican House Speaker John Boehner, invited Netanyahu to speak.
In Netanyahu's defense, Iran is a historic enemy of Israel and has frequently threatened its existence. He has every right to fear Iran's ambitions, but the ways he has expressed his trepidations are arguably worthy of criticism.
Netanyahu will undoubtedly continue to object to any conversations surrounding Iran and nuclear power, which will not help Israel's relationship with America.
It's obvious that Israel and America have a great deal to work out if they want to rekindle their once-amiable partnership.
At the moment, however, this appears an unlikely possibility. Perhaps this will change after Obama's gone, or maybe the damage will have already been done. Only time will tell.
Citations: No One Seems Too Optimistic About an Improved Post Election Relationship With Israel (New York Magazine ), US to Re Evaluate Mideast Peace Strategy (The Wall Street Journal ), Obama May Find It Impossible to Mend Frayed Ties to Netanyahu (New York Times), When Bibi Won AIPAC Lost (The Atlantic ), The Nuclear Talks With Iran Explained (New York Times ), US could abandon Israel at the UN (CNN), 58 members of Congress skipped Netanyahus speech (CNN), Netanyahu Back To Barely Pretending He Supports A Two State Solution (Huffington Post)