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US-Israel: No daylight, or essential gap?

by Shmuel Rosner

March 9, 2012 | 1:05 am

Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, March 5, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

As I have written a 1,500 word article for the print weekend edition of the Journal, the sensible thing for me to do is to send you there. Here’s a short appetizer from the long article, followed by the link to the full story:

The meeting between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week raises the suspicion that we’re facing the reincarnation of the useful gap. An essential and unavoidable gap. Clearly, it was an important meeting. But judging by the comments made by both leaders before and after the meeting (and one must acknowledge the fact that, at the time of my writing, we know very little about the actual content of the meeting), not much has changed in recent weeks when it comes to the crucial matter of dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel still has to keep the threat of action alive by way of forcing a more robust timetable for sanctions, as was evident in Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech on March 5. “2012 is not 1944,” Netanyahu said. America is different. But his real “point” was this one: “The Jewish people are also different.  Today we have a state of our own.  And the purpose of the Jewish state is to defend Jewish lives and to secure the Jewish future. Never again will we not be masters of the fate of our very survival. Never again.” These are not the words of a leader willing to delay action in the hope that someone else will take care of the Jews of Israel.

For its part, the United States also has to stay the current course and keep pushing for more diplomacy and sanctions, and keep reminding Israel that it is not alone, if it wants Israel to delay its decision on using military force and initiating war with Iran. The gap is inherent to both countries’ positioning; it is an essential ingredient of both countries’ strategies.

Read the full story here.

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