Lok Sabha TV Insights: Israel – US Relations
UNSC has just ratified Iran nuclear deal. This deal is being vehemently opposed by Israel P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu who termed it as an historic and horrific mistake. He said this deal will only pave rather than obstruct way for Iran to acquire nuclear power. This has perhaps something to do with his domestic political turf. His failure to prevent deal is being resented in Israel. All this is casting doubts on whether U.S. support to Israel has diminished or has Israel’s interest been compromised deliberately by its all-weather patron U.S.
Israel owes its creation to European power, but its US who ensured its security and dominance in hostile region. Relation between two countries is unique and perhaps no other two powerful countries have such deeply entrenched relation. This can be attested from the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu is working with republicans in legislature of U.S. (congress) to pressurize U.S. executive i.e. President. This is unprecedented and executives of various countries have exclusive claim to foreign policy. In past a number of U.S. citizens have served as Israel’s ambassadors to U.S. after giving up U.S. citizenship. In such scenario it is impossible that U.S. has turned against Israel, rather it’s just that the different parties have different perception about Iran nuclear deal.
President Obama believes that deal is in best interest of Israel and whole region. He might have realized that indiscriminate intervention by US in other countries’ affairs and instability that followed has been a quite expensive affair for US. It has eroded credibility of US apart from claiming lives of thousands of US soldiers and citizens.
Couple of years back Obama proudly declared that global terrorism is on verge of being defeated and soon ISIS raised its ugly head in Middle East, which was followed by Boko Haram in Africa and TTP in Pakistan. Henceforth, those fighting global war against terrorism found themselves even worse from where they started. It is beyond doubt that current state of affairs is result of cyclic hate. It is easy for organization like ISIS to provoke impressionable people claiming that west is trying to annihilate Islam referring to devastation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and likes. In counter reaction to this islamophobia gets a replenished thrust all over the world which results in increased support to right wing governments. This cycle goes on forever and this time Obama might have realized this. Obama has ensured Israel that its security is of paramount importance and there is no change of heart in U.S.
Israel- Iran relations have followed same trajectory as US- Iran relation leaving present departure aside. Post Islamic revolution in Iran, Israeli embassy was replaced by Palestinian embassy. By that time Israel has already fought and defeated various Arab countries in four separate wars. Now that a strong regional power and once ally like Iran suddenly turned tables against Israel made them quite nervous. Israel possesses nuclear weapons and it time and again threatened to bomb Iran. This along with US intentions for regime change in Iran made latter think seriously about nuclear weapons. In today’s world nuclear capacity is considered as guarantee against external aggression.
Iran was the main patron of the Hezbollah group which is fiercely anti-Israel. Iran obviously supported Palestinian Hamas and Syria’s Bashar Assad regime. Now with isolation of Iran, Hezbollah has lost its muscle. Israel has reasonable apprehensions that anti-Israel activities will get revived in Middle East. However, while thinking so it is ignoring bigger threat posed ISIS. All over the Sunni Middle East, there are pockets of ISIS sympathizers. This limits the capacity of Sunni states to contain ISIS. In contrast a Shia Iran is natural enemy and target of ISIS. So for the time being Iran holds the key to ISIS question.
In backdrop of recent development, Israel – Palestinian issue seems to have been pushed into cold box. It is said that Israel has agreed and the backtracked to a ‘Two State Solution’ which was mediated by US and other Arab states. Under this Gaza Strip and West Bank will form a sovereign independent nation – Palestine. Palestine has been admitted as non-member observer in United Nations. But problem is that Hamas, party which is ruling Palestine, swears complete annihilation of Israel. It aims at ultimately capturing Israel territories, establishing a Sharia Islamic state and getting rid of Jews. This gives enough leeway to Israel to go back on promises.
This year, both President and Prime Minister have scheduled visits to Israel. India has traditionally supported Palestine and there were no diplomatic relations until 1992. When cold war ended, India had to shift toward US and in turn, Israel. Now India needs to carefully balance engagement with Iran, Israel and Palestine. Palestine is emotive and humanitarian issue, and is at the heart of crores of Indian Muslims. At the same time Israel is one of the biggest defence partners of India. Further, it has credible experience and intelligence in field of anti-terrorism operations. Its intelligence agency Mossad is perhaps best in world and can supplement Indian intelligence. India also desperately needs Israel’s arch rival Iran for energy resources and access to Central Asia. India is moving toward realpolitik and we can have symbiotic relation all these countries, by never extending blanket support and taking stand on case to case basis.