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Israel

Dear Editor:

Mr. Sawicki’s letter-to-the-editor in the 8 May issue of the SUN has led me to comment on the subject of U.S.-Israel relations. Despite its relatively small geographical size and being surrounded by several hostile Arab countries which have threatened to eradicate it since its birth in 1948, Israel has prospered and is the only real bastion of democracy and stability in the Middle East.

Since its inception, Israel has been one of our closest allies and our respective leaders, up to now, have always worked closely together in attempting to maintain peace in the region. While the U.S. has always supported Israel militarily in the conflicts that broke out since 1948, it has tried to be impartial to all sides in the search for peace and especially in reaching a lasting accord between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The quest for an accommodation between Israel and Palestine has continued unabated under every U.S. administration despite repeated failures. Since Obama was elected president, his two Secretaries of State, first Hillary Clinton and now John Kerry, have made numerous efforts to bring the two countries together, to no avail. The Israelis continue to expand settlements on the West Bank, the Palestinians continue to refuse to recognize the State of Israel, and now that the Palestinian Authority has taken the terrorist organization Hamas under its wing, there is no basis for meaningful negotiations at this time.

It will not be long, however, before Obama and Kerry will dismiss the Hamas factor and attempt to get talks re-started. And although he will not publicly admit it, Obama would like to force Israel to return to its pre-1967 boundaries, despite knowing these boundaries are militarily indefensible. Netanyahu will never agree to this and therefore Obama and Kerry will bring pressure to bear on him to make other concessions to the Palestinians. This has been ongoing during the past six years and as a result of Netanyahu’s refusal to capitulate to unrealistic demands, relations between Obama and Netanyahu have deteriorated and will likely worsen even further.

There is yet another reason U.S.-Israeli relations are strained. Netanyahu recognizes Obama’s promise to not allow the Iranians to develop nuclear weapons is hollow. Netanyahu also recognizes that if he has to attack the nuclear facilities in Iran, Obama will likely not support him militarily, even though Iran is as much a threat to the U.S. as to Israel. Netanyahu also believes what a growing number of U.S. military suspect but are constrained from saying: We have a capricious president who would rather draw disappearing red lines in the Middle East sand than reveal a hidden allegiance or preference toward an Islamist country, regardless of whether it is moderate or radical. It’s time for all Americans to realize where this is leading.

Gary Stansbury

This story was posted on May 22, 2014.