Fractures in the friendship between Israel and the United States

The United States has passed a resolution in the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Israel feels betrayed. If Israel continues the war, it risks international boycott.

It's complicated: There is a thick atmosphere between Israel and America. This has happened many times before. But the air between the two friends was never too thick to cut. First, one partner proved everything to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the other to US President Joe Biden. To this end, the United States did not veto a March 25 UN Security Council vote on a demand for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The other 14 members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution.

In return, Hamas must release Israeli hostages, the resolution continued. The Gaza terrorist organization immediately announced its “willingness to participate in an immediate prisoner exchange leading to the release of prisoners on both sides.”

Netanyahu is under pressure

This put pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu. UN Security Council resolutions are binding under international law. If the Israeli Prime Minister ignores the resolution, Israel will be isolated. Netanyahu can still be trusted. He absolutely wants to achieve the goal of the war: the destruction of Hamas. This is the only way he can justify the destruction of the Gaza Strip and the many civilian casualties.

The absence of a veto from the United States is the most painful obstacle. The only question is whether it is really so unexpected.

Admittedly, the relationship between the United States and Israel was closer than that between other states. It dates back to 1962. At the time, US President John F. Kennedy supplied arms to Israel and recognized that state as a partner.

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That was the first flirtation. Mutual “yes” after the Six Day War (1967). The US positioned Israel as a bulwark of Western democracy against the Arab states that were friendly with the Soviet Union.

A story of a close relationship

It gave a new dynamic to the relationship. Except for the Lodge Fish Resolution, in which the US Congress declared its support for the “establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine”, the United States had nothing to do with the Jewish state. Especially since it was there, a strong anti-Semitic fundamentalist current in the US only encouraged the revision, only contact with refugees from National Socialist Germany. Undoubtedly influenced by the Shoah, the United States was the first country to recognize Israel.

There is no room for talk of friendship at present. In principle, the United States supported Israel's Arab neighbors and was deeply dissatisfied with the partition of the Arab part of Palestine for a Jewish state. Israel's protectorate at the time was France.

That changed in May 1967 when Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser instigated a saber-rattling campaign against Israel. Israel launched a pre-emptive attack and won the Six Day War against an Arab coalition led by Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

Exchange of political partners

Partner swaps immediately followed: France suddenly trapped the Arab side while the US wooed Israel.

The dowry for the Israeli-American partnership was extravagant: Israel became a strategic partner of the United States. The importance of this became clear in 1979, when after the fall of US-friendly Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran went from being an ally to an enemy. Without Israel as a foothold, America would have suffered total geopolitical disaster in the Middle East. Moreover, through its friendship with Israel, the United States won Jewish lobbies to participate in America's private capital-intensive political system.

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In response, the United States gave Israel a U.N. As soon as a draft resolution unfavorable to Israel was introduced in the Security Council, the US blocked it with its veto.

There was only one real sound. In 2016, the Security Council passed Resolution 2334 with 14 votes in favor. It describes Israeli settlements in the West Bank as a violation of international law and a major obstacle to a two-state solution. Under the Barack Obama administration, the United States decided to abstain from voting by exception.

Netanyahu fumed that the referendum was “shameful and anti-Israel”. Rumors suddenly spread on social media that Obama was a Muslim: grist for the far-right scene.

Trump supports Israel

But after Obama came Donald Trump. The US-Israel alliance has never been closer. Not only has Trump proposed a two-state solution that, if implemented, would almost exclusively benefit Israel; On top of that, Trump, in his foreign policy blunder, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, thereby significantly worsening the Middle East problem.

Under his successor, Joe Biden, it initially seemed likely that the closer relationship would continue only with a little more balancing of Israeli and Palestinian aspirations.

Netanyahu then formed his far-right government in 2022.

Biden is recusing himself

Biden and his Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, were less than enthusiastic. After Hamas' terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, the United States and the rest of the world stood by Israel. This was put into perspective by Netanyahu allowing the Israeli military to wage war in the Gaza Strip.

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Netanyahu used all U.S. calls to moderate, explore alternative solutions to the hostage rescue, consider a possible two-state solution to take pressure off the Middle East conflict, and cast Biden as former Secretary of State Obama. A Middle Eastern dilettante needs to be taught as quickly as possible.

Foreign policy is domestic policy

However, Biden is under the pressure of an election campaign in which he cannot and cannot win against his challenger, Trump. Biden's own voters partly accuse him of being too friendly to Israel, and partly accuse him of not being friendly enough to Israel.

In other words: Biden appears indecisive, weak, and helpless on the Middle East issue. Biden can't let this stand any longer. An attempt to show the boycott edge: a message to Israel and one's own country.

It is clear what impression this will have on Netanyahu: As early as 2023, ahead of a UN resolution on a ceasefire, he announced that he would continue the war if necessary without international protection. At the time, the US still vetoed it.

At the UN General Assembly in 2015, Netanyahu enthused: “One thing we in Israel will never forget is that Israel's most important ally will always be the United States. The alliance between Israel and America is unbreakable.

Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu are trying hard to prove otherwise.

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