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The feast of love
Is the romance saga between US and Israel finally over?

If life never ceases to surprise, then geo-politics would go a step further. Going by past trend of US-Israel romance, no prophecies would have predicted a fissure to appear between them. But then, this six-decade old relationship is all set to get sour, especially after the recent remarks from Israel’s end. Recently, Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s brother-in-law, Hagai Ben-Artzi, in a radio interview called Barack Obama an anti-Semite. This remark of Hagai Ben-Artzi has its roots in the near past. During the US Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to Israel, Israel had announced their proposal to built 1600 Jewish houses in Ramat Shlomo in east Jerusalem (as approved by Israel’s interior ministry). This announcement offended many top officials of the US to an extent wherein Hillary Clinton expressed this act as an ‘insult’.

On hindsight, it seems that Israel is getting stronger both economically and politically. The Israeli economy is improving and is now neck to neck with economies like Singapore, Hong Kong and a few other fast developing nations. And of course, there seems to be no match to Israeli nuclear and defence development initiatives and technology. Israel today can boast about their high tech research and advance defence system. On the political front, of late, the Hizbullah and Hamas activities also have gone down to a large extent.

But the grimness of the whole issue gets highlighted when seen in context to the Israel-Iran conflict. Netanyahu has had fantastic support from the Republican regime, with consecutive US Republican Presidents looking the other way to Israel’s excesses, sometimes correctly too, given Israel’s extremely sensitive geo-location. George Bush had taken this support to a new level with his straightforward attacks on Iraq and threats to Iran. The anti-Israel open-rhetoric of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his intentions (later denied) to “wipe Israel off the map” only helped increase tensions between Israel and Iran. As recent as February 7, 2010, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the destruction of Israel was assured.
But the Democrat camp, led by Obama and Hillary, is another walk altogether. It may be noted that last year’s Israeli bombing of Gaza was stopped just a handful of days before Obama assumed office – clearly due to a straightjacketed warning from the Democrat quarters. Not only do Democrats not appreciate Israel’s belligerent claim to territory, they also are forcing it to reach a settlement with Palestine. However, this is not for the first time that Obama is upset with Israel’s act. Last year too, Obama came down hard on Israel’s settlement activities in the region. (Despite this, pro-Israeli representatives still played a noteworthy role in the passage of Obama’s health care bill; many US politicians are members of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee or the so-called Israeli lobby). Obama is getting tough on Israel because if another Israel-Palestine live conflict flares up, Obama’s attempts to stabilize the situation in both Afghanistan and Iraq would get magnanimously disturbed. A newly confident (and nuclear ambition loaded) Iran would necessarily step up the verbal onslaught, leading to sure-shot military manoeuvres. And as Iraq and Afghanistan share borders with Iran, the issue would have a domino effect in these countries.

On a bigger front, Obama’s posturing also has an intended positive effect – of mollycoddling the slighted Muslim groups and of reassuring them that US is not the enemy. So is the Israel-US infatuation over? To say that would be a figment of one’s imagination. Israel is a key fixture in American foreign policy – and people from that nation have supported America in its various exploits without questions. To that past, present, and future allegiance, America is indebted. Obama knows that too. And he won’t allow current posturing to destroy decades of committed resource building for the US by Israel. And you don’t need to be an Einstein to know that...

By:- Sray Agarwal

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