The Strategist

Disputes Brought the US and Israel Together

11/11/2015 - 15:36

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a trip to Washington for a visit, the main intrigue of which became talks with US President Barack Obama. Despite the alliance between the two countries, relations of their leaders were strained because of controversies on the Iranian nuclear deal and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this situation, Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama had to overcome mutual personal dislike and agree to continue cooperation in the security field. The main outcome of the White House meeting was an agreement to speed up negotiations on the long-term agreement in the field of security, providing Israel with US military aid in amount of $ 50 billion for a decade.

James Emery
James Emery
The meeting of Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu lasted 45 minutes longer than time scheduled by the protocol. After the parley, the Israeli guest said that talks were held "in a good, constructive and very businesslike atmosphere." "It was a calm dialogue - both in tone and content. We prefer to look for ways to work together, rather than continuing our arguments", - he added, making it clear that Israel will no longer focus on the Iran disagreements of the past.

- It's no secret that we had serious differences on this narrow issue with the Prime Minister. However, there is no disagreement about the fact that it is necessary to exclude the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons, - Barack Obama continued the theme of Iran. As reported by press, covering the US-Israeli summit at the White House, there were smiles, noticed on the two leaders’ faces.

The Israeli prime minister visited Washington for the second time in recent months. However, it was the first time when Benjamin Netanyahu met Barack Obama this year (the two leaders had not seen each other for over a year). In March, Benjamin Netanyahu flew to the US capital to appeal to Congress and urge them not to allow agreement on the Iranian nuclear program. Given that the visit was at the invitation of the Republican leadership of the Congress and was not coordinated with the White House, the Israeli leader was not received neither by President Obama nor by Vice President Joseph Biden. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Switzerland on the day of Mr. Netanyahu’s arrival.

Given that Mr. Netanyahu did not manage to prevent signing of the agreement with Iran and its ratification in the US Congress, relations between the US and Israel have experienced an acute shortage of positive until the very end of the meeting. A meeting of the Israeli prime minister and Secretary of State Kerry, held on October 22 in Berlin, did not helped much as well. To the disappointment of his American interlocutor, Mr. Netanyahu blamed for the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas alone. With this, he embarrassed Washington, which is trying to play role of an intermediary between the parties to the conflict.

Journalist Ran Barat, last Thursday appointed an adviser on press and Head of Israeli National Information Department, and known for his conservative views, added fuel to the fire of relations between the US and Israel. Before an offer to become the official representative of the Israeli cabinet, Mr. Baratz posted a number of derogatory assessments of President Obama and Secretary Kerry in his Facebook blog. He called Barack Obama an anti-Semite; as for John Kerry, Mr. Baratz even doubted Secretary’s mental abilities.

However, not to rock the situation further, Benjamin Netanyahu left Baratz in Israel. Before going to the trip, he made it clear that he was not going to exacerbate the conflict with Obama, but negotiate a long-term strategic development of the relations between the two countries. "I think this meeting will be important to clarify the issue of the US military help continuation to Israel over the next decade," - said Prime Minister Netanyahu during a meeting of his cabinet.

Already being in Washington, the Israeli leader developed the theme of military-technical cooperation with the United States. He hinted that after the signing of the Iranian agreement, the US will have to pay much more attention to the security of its key Middle East ally. "One cannot compare our needs in the field of security a decade ago with needs of security in the future", - he explained.

Currently, Israel receives US military aid in amount of $ 2 billion annually. However, the bilateral agreements on deliveries of American arms expires in 2017. Taking this into account, the Washington meeting gave a start to negotiations on a new agreement for next ten years, totaling $ 50 billion. According to Israeli media, Israel expects to receive a batch of F-35multi-purpose fighters of the fifth generation, V-22 tiltrotors and a number of other weapon.