A day after arriving in Israel, Joe Biden inked Jerusalem Declaration, committing his administration to protect the security of Israel. But will it be enough for Israel in times of security crisis?
It was on this Wednesday afternoon that US President Joe Biden arrived in Israel, marking the start of his landmark regional tour. A day after, he and Prime Minister Yair Lapid met in Jerusalem to adopt the Joint Declaration on the US-Israel Strategic Partnership, known also as the Jerusalem Declaration.
According to the text of the Declaration released by the White House, “the United States and Israel reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between our two countries and the enduring commitment of the United States to Israel’s security.” The two leaders also reaffirmed that their strategic partnership “is based on a bedrock of shared values, shared interests, and true friendship.” And that “the United States reiterates its steadfast commitment to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter its enemies and to defend itself by itself against any threat or combination of threats.”
Israeli has, for months, been planning for Biden’s trip to the region to use the occasion for two main purposes; First, to underscore the threat of Iran’s nuclear program and create a regional coalition against Tehran with the help of the US. Second, to exhibit its new laser defense system and make the Biden administration pay for its mass production in order to sell it to the Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia.
The US president is set to travel to Saudi Arabia on Friday, meeting with the Kingdom’s young crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman. Good to mention that personal relations between Biden and Bin Salman have been quite messy in recent months.
Israel should take lessons from Ukraine
Relations between the United States and Israel have always been good. And it is expected that this new strategic declaration strengthens the existing ties even more. But there are historical examples of such strategic partnership documents that prove Israel should not count on the US for its security with 100% certainty.
On November 10, 2021, and amid growing threats of a possible attack of Russia against Ukraine, the United States and Ukraine signed a similar document called the U.S.-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership. According to the text of this strategic document, the US emphasized “unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.” It also reaffirmed the importance of a bilateral relationship between Washington and Jerusalem as friends and strategic partners, based both on our shared values and common interests.
Washington also declared its determination “to deepen strategic partnership” by expanding bilateral cooperation in political, security, defense, development, economic, etc.
Less than four months later, however, the Russian military launched an all-out attack on parts of Ukraine on February 24, with the United States limiting its support only to sending weapons to Ukraine. The war in Ukraine is still ongoing and there is no end in sight for it. But despite the US commitment to “Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity”, Ukraine is still grappling with the bloody war with Russia.
Israel has every reason to be worried about its security. In addition to grave conflicts with Iran, Israel has also been experiencing a high level of tension with Russia over the Ukraine war. But as the case of Ukraine proved, it is too naïve of Israeli leaders to rely on their partnership with the US if a war between Israel and any of its enemies breaks out.