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Breaking point: Time for Israel and the US to start seeing other people

by Gidon BenZvi

August 14, 2014 | 11:58 am

<em>An interception of a rocket by the Iron Dome anti-missile system is seen above the Israeli town of Sderot July 21, 2014. Photo credit Baz Ratner/Reuters</em>

An interception of a rocket by the Iron Dome anti-missile system is seen above the Israeli town of Sderot July 21, 2014. Photo credit Baz Ratner/Reuters

The US administration has halted a shipment of Hellfire aerial anti-armor missiles to Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing government sources.

Not since the early 1980s, when the Reagan administration withheld delivery of promised F-16 fighter planes, as a response to Israel's bombing of Iraq's nuclear plant in Osirak, has the US acted in such a brazen, reckless manner.

Effectively, President Barack Obama made Israel weaker today.

Coincidentally, Washington recently signed a $4 billion arms deal with Turkey. This agreement comes on the heels of the $11 billion deal that was finalized a few weeks ago between the US and Qatar, a country described by former Israeli President Shimon Peres as “the world’s largest funder of terror."

With Barack Obama outsourcing Washington's Middle East policy to two of Hamas's primary benefactors, Israel may want to consider a trial separation from its 'special relationship' with the United States.

After all, being America's faithful and acquiescent life partner has left Israel divided internally and isolated internationally.

What is a country to do when it is feeling neglected, trapped, unappreciated, or generally underwhelmed with its current relationship?

Play the field.

While the sun may not be setting on the greatest free empire the world has ever known, the Israeli government should consider developing mutually beneficial relationships with countries that are united by common concerns.

For in reality, Barack Obama's intended policy of benign neglect vis-a-vis the Middle East has actually proven to be one of malignant neglect, weaking traditional allies while emboldening foes.

Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and the spillover effect in Syria on the rest of the region are three problems that Israel shares with Saudi Arabia and the moderate states in the Persian Gulf.

Regarding the Gaza War, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, along with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, would like to see an end to Hamas's rule over the Gaza Strip. Moreover, they seem to support the idea of disarming Hamas as part of any agreement to end the current crisis.

In contrast, the US Administration is working to prevent the collapse of Hamas.

By siding with Qatar and Turkey, the Obama Administration is effectively expressing its opposition to the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, the Obama Administration now finds itself on the same side with Iran, which is also vehemently opposed to disarming Hamas.

Further east, another potential suitor for Israel is China. Faced with its worst terror attacks in decades in Xinjiang and elsewhere, China is seeking Israeli help in counter-terrorism. Beijing increasingly values Israel as a rock of stability in a sea of Islamic upheaval in the Middle East.

Untethered by lingering feelings of guilt, misplaced fidelity or fear, Israel should consider not one, insufferable, domineering sugar daddy, but several potentially promising prospects.

Perhaps Israel's move towards independence will actually strengthen the currently frayed bonds with Washington. There are numerous benefits of this bilateral relationship. Israel is an important partner in dealing with evolving terrorist and military threats as well as preserving the competitiveness of the US defense-industrial base through joint development efforts and cutting-edge technology.

Furthermore, Israel has facilitated US efforts to deal with emerging soft security challenges related to economic competitiveness, the information technology revolution, resource sustainability, and public health.

Will Israel's absence make America's heart grow fonder?

Since this would be a trial separation, not a divorce, Doomsday prognosticators who cannot imagine Israel remaining viable without its annual $3 billion infusion can exhale.

To paraphrase the acclaimed self-help guru Stuart Smalley with regards to Israel: 'you're good, you're smart enough, and doggone it, people like you.' Or at least value you...

 

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