Why is the US asking Israel for goodwill gestures as a quid pro quo?
expressing ironclad support for Israel’s security is the stated goal of President Biden’s visit to Jerusalem in July, why is the US asking Israel for goodwill gestures as a quid pro quo?
According to Motti Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom’s chief political correspondent, the Bennett government has made at least three unilateral concessions to spare Biden any twinge of embarrassment for the 24 hours or less he will spend in Jerusalem.
Bennett reportedly agreed to postpone the demolition of the home of the terrorist who killed two people on a Tel Aviv street in April, approved a substantial increase in Palestinian building permits in Judea and Samaria, while suspending Jewish construction for the umpteenth time in the area known as E-1, between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim.
A fourth concession awaits Biden’s appearance, when Bennett will reportedly announce a crackdown on “settler violence,” as if marching around Jerusalem with an Israeli flag is equivalent to mowing down innocent citizens at point-blank range with automatic weapons.
Bennett revealed all this when imploring fellow party member and religious Zionist Nir Orbach not to desert his government. To remain in power, Bennett cannot afford to lose one more seat, so he warned Orbach that if the government falls, and Yair Lapid becomes provisional prime minister until the next election (as called for by coalition agreements), Lapid would make even more concessions than the ones already made.
Bennett’s desperation is another sign of his weakness. While another reason for Biden’s visit at this time is to prop up Bennett’s crumbling coalition, US interference in Israel’s internal affairs smacks of paternalism.
The relationship will remain imbalanced until Israel takes the bold step of weaning itself from US military aid, just as it weaned itself from US economic aid over ten years from 1997 to 2007.
Breaking the military umbilical cord will be far more challenging, considering the security threats Israel faces on multiple fronts, but with its budget surplus and declining national debt, Israel can afford it.
It just needs a government with a vision, rather than one that’s clawing and scratching for survival.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 916)
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