A Friendlier White House in the Future?
by Sarah Ann Haves
A divided Republican Party, and a weakness in popularity among Republic contenders who are campaigning to become the next president of the United States, seems like a set-up for a Democratic win on the national front in November 2016. Hillary Clinton could very well become the first female American president in the history of the United States. She promises to be kinder to Israel, and is expected not to support the current White House policy that seems to have put “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel – something American President Barack Obama denies, but has been accused of implementing since he took office almost 8 years ago.
However, one can never be sure just how friendly Hillary Clinton will be to Israel if she is elected. When she was America’s First Lady, as wife of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, she visited the Gaza Strip in 1988. After hearing Suha Arafat, the widow of PLO leader Yasser Arafat, give an anti-Israel speech, she kissed Suha on the cheeks, showing her tacit approval. In 2011, Hillary refused to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Furthermore, she continues to hold an anti-settlement position vis-à-vis Israel. In 2013, she sharply rebuked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call, because his government announced new building start-ups in East Jerusalem during U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden’s visit to the Jewish State. In 2014, she re-iterated her disappointment with Israel’s settlement activity – a long held view at the State Department, which became more vocal and public when Obama took office and Hillary became Secretary of State.
Still, if Clinton is elected president, there will be an attempt to press the re-set button in U.S.-Israel relations after a bumpy roller coaster ride between Obama and Netanyahu over the past 8 years.
|Failed U.S. policy
has brought Sunni
What won’t change under a Clinton presidency is the continued misunderstandings between both countries in regard to the settlement issue. And, at times, Israel will continue to face U.S. and world condemnation about a disproportionate use of military force in its struggle both with the Palestinians and Hamas. Israeli leaders will also continue to wonder if the U.S. will defend Israel, diplomatically, at the UN, when the Palestinians put forward anti-Israel resolutions — even with Hillary’s assurances of American backing.
Leaders of both countries hope that Israel and the U.S. will come to an agreement on a new Memorandum of Understanding regarding an advanced military aid package to Israel beginning in 2017. When the U.S. signed the nuclear deal with Iran, it was with assurances to Israel that it would increase military spending to the Jewish State so it can defend itself against future Iranian aggression. While Israel would like to see a substantial increase in U.S. military aid, the White House and Congress are not able or willing to consider the kind of deal that Israel had hoped for. A compromise needs to be reached soon that will assure Israel can maintain its Qualitative Military Edge (QME) in the region in 2017 and beyond.
Failed U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has brought Arab Sunni countries closer to Israel. That is the silver lining that came about when the Obama Administration changed its geo-political interests and alignments in the region. The threat of a nuclear Iran, and the uncertainty that the U.S. is really on their side of the Sunni-Shiite divide has caused Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries to secretly turn to Israel.
For years Netanyahu has hinted that there is closer cooperation between Israel and “moderate” Arab states behind the scenes. Recent reports indicate that Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United States held talks for six years over the transfer of two Red Seas Islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia. The islands are strategically located, and the peace accord between Israel and Egypt had to be carefully re-evaluated to include the return of the islands to Saudi Arabia. According to the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, the islands were patrolled by international peace-keeping forces. The Saudi’s had to agree to abide by specific terms that would keep the islands de-militarized. This meant Saudi Arabia’s involvement and its approval of part of the Egyptian peace treaty with Israel. Therefore, Saudi Arabia has had to take into account the interests of Israel, a huge step towards a future peace alliance. There are also reports of an unspoken assurance that Israel can use Saudi air space, if needed, in a future conflagration with Iran.
|A Sunni alignment
is growning in order
to counter Iran…
A Sunni alignment between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf Countries is growing in order to counter the advances Iran has made in its Shiite alliances with Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. The Saudi’s are also hoping to bring Turkey into the Sunni mix, while at the same time, Israel and Turkey are trying to re-establish diplomatic ties.
Meanwhile, the United States needs to re-gain the respect it has lost through a lack of leadership in the Middle East during the Obama years, and because of continued mistakes in regional foreign policy. The new U.S. president taking over the White House in 2017 will be tested in their commitment to former regional allies. The future American Administration will have to re-assert its position as the main regional peace broker, and will need Israel’s help. The U.S. will be expected to lessen its pressure on Israel for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, taking into account the strong ties already developing behind the scenes between Israel and its Sunni Arab neighbors which could result in a regional peace agreement first and foremost. Privately, it appears that these countries leaders are not insisting that Israel first solve the rift with the Palestinians before they are willing to establish diplomatic ties with the Jewish State. There seems to be an accommodation on the part of the Sunni Arabs because Israel can provide a military umbrella for them against Iran’s hegemonic intentions.
This is why the U.S. future military package to Israel is so important. It gives Israel the leverage it needs with other Middle East countries so it can remain militarily strong. That strength continues to provide defense coverage for the Sunni Arab states against an increasingly aggressive Shiite Iran. It brings Israel into the Sunni Arab orbit for possible future peace agreements. Saudi Arabia is positioning itself as an emerging leader in the region, developing closer strategic alliances with its Sunni neighbors. But, Israel can help bring America back into a responsible peace-broker role if the U.S. can improve on its relationships with certain Arab countries in the region. All of this depends, however, on who becomes the next president of the United States and how they prioritize their further strategic partnership with Israel.
How blessed are those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times! Psalm 106:3
(c) 2015 Messianic Vision all rights reserved. This article is not reproducible except with permisson from Messianic Vision.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues in Israel and the nations.