As areas of conflict between the US and its years-long ally, Israel, are alarmingly increasing, it seems the once-thought unbreakable bond between the two is now in question.
For decades since the 1940s, the United States has been supporting Israel in various economic, military, and political areas. To put it simply, Israel could never reach this far in its occupation without the unwavering support of Washington.
But while the US-Israel relationship is often described as an “unbreakable bond,” fortified by deep security cooperation and nearly $4 billion in U.S. military aid each year, it shouldn’t divert one’s mind from the historical fact that there is no permanent ally in the world of politics and international relations.
But much of the disagreement between the US and Israel began early this year when a far-right, extremist government came to power in Israel under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Two Israeli domestic issues have especially created these rifts between Washington and Tel Aviv, including Israel’s plan for judicial reform and its extreme policies in increasing illegal settlements in Palestinian lands. The Biden Administration continues to put pressure on the Israeli government to abandon its judicial reform plans, warning that it would undermine Israel democracy and endanger shared values between US and Israel.
Just this Tuesday, US Vice President Kamala Harris said that Israel’s democracy requires “an independent judiciary,” wading into the controversy over Netanyahu’s proposed judicial overhaul that has drawn mass protests in Israel.
“America will continue to stand for the values that have been the bedrock of the U.S.-Israel relationship, which includes continuing to strengthen our democracies, which as the (Israeli) ambassador has said, are both built on strong institutions, checks and balances, and I’ll add: an independent judiciary,” Harris said, speaking at a reception celebrating the 75th anniversary of Israel’s founding hosted by the country’s embassy in Washington
Reacting to Harris, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said the US Vice President was perhaps not fully informed about the details of the judicial changes his government was seeking. “If you ask her what troubles her about the reform, she may not be able to cite even one clause that bothers her,” Cohen told Israel’s public broadcaster Kan, adding that “I don’t know whether she read the bill, my estimation is that she has not.”
Palestine and Iran, other areas of divergence between US and Israel
The same is true about Israel’s efforts to expand illegal settlements in Palestinian lands, a move that the Biden administration has criticized many times and considers it as leading to more violence in the West Bank. good to mention that the US summoned Israeli Ambassador to Washington Mike Herzog last Tuesday to protest an Israeli law passed earlier that day that repealed the 2005 Israeli disengagement from the northern occupied West Bank.
Another clear sign of breaking bonds between Washington and Tel Aviv is that Biden has yet to extend a White House invitation to Netanyahu, a rare cold shoulder that Netanyahu has never experienced with previous US presidents before. Israel believes the US status over the two abovementioned issues in Israel is blatant interference” with another country’s internal policies”.
“The Biden Administration continues to think that America can dictate what its allies’ policies should be. This kind of pressure by the U.S. upon other countries’ internal matters failed with Saudi Arabia and it will fail with Israel,” says Jason Greenblatt, former White House Envoy to the Middle East.
Last but not least, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s sudden cancelation of his planned visit to Israel last week is another a clear sign that the US and Israel have diverging opinions on foreign policy matters as well.
While Netanyahu and his government strongly believe the US should impose more sanctions on Iran and even think of attacking Iranian nuclear sites, new reports indicate that the Biden administration is surreptitiously negotiating a so-called ‘interim nuclear deal’ with Iran, which include dropping all of sanctions against Tehran in exchange of Iran’s ending its uranium enrichment.