March 31, 2020

The Case for a US-Israel Defense Pact

“Between salvos of Hamas rockets, Netanyahu shenanigans and Trump’s antics, you may have missed the really big news, an issue which will have lasting effects on the U.S.- Israel relationship: are the two states now nearer than ever to signing a defense treaty?

Days before Israel’s (inconclusive) second round of elections in September, President Donald Trump helpfully declared he was discussing the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an act that would “further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries.” Lindsey Graham, the influential senator close to Trump, is working to promote the idea.

Netanyahu is continuing his efforts towards more substantial progress on a treaty, reportedly with the support of the IDF chief of staff. He stated the treaty would be a key issue on the agenda of talks with U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo in Lisbon this week.

Opposition leader (and former IDF chief) Benny Gantz announced in no uncertain terms this week that he dissented: any such treaty would “limit Israel’s actions and the IDF’s ability to protect the country from the threats it faces.” He added that a treaty was inherently “opposed to the position expressed by [Israel’s] security establishment for decades.””

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