Here are the questions the pundits are now asking: Who dominates the relationship in the alliance of America and Israel? Where will all this end up?
Let’s approach the subject in terms of the parallel universe of the (ever-resurrected) “peace process.” Some things just never end, so we might as well take this example as a lever. I mean, really. Even after the Palestinian Authority went to the International Criminal Court to register claims against the Israeli Army for alleged war crimes, and Israel called it quits in pursuance of the two-state solution, we still see that the US insists upon making the peace process an issue between the two countries.
After years of flying back and forth negotiating between the Americans and Israelis, Kerry failed to persuade the Palestinian leadership to come down from their tree and accept a Jewish State in order to procure a final status agreement. Afterwards, when PM Netanyahu was re-elected, the EU, UN and the US together sounded a chorus for getting the peace talks started again. Why the insistence, against all rationality, on resuming this process? What reality is the State Dept. living in? It’s true that there is “daylight” (Kerry’s words) between US foreign policy and the Israeli Knesset on this matter specifically, but it is hard to gage in general, who is dominating who. Both parties do agree though that Palestinians have to recognize that Israel is intrinsically a Jewish State. However, in the “peace process” universe, the US will never officially state that the process is dead in the water. On this point, the Americans surely dominate.
American presidents consistently have made optimistic predictions that are quite detached from the realities on the ground. George W. Bush said back in early 2009: “The peace agreement should happen and can happen by the end of the year.” Later, Obama held out the prospect of an agreement that would, by the following year,” lead to a new member of the United Nations – an independent state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.”
It seems though that at this junction in history, the PA leadership is simply not going to subscribe to Jews having a designated homeland called Israel, and as mentioned, one thing America and Israel do see eye to eye about is getting the PA to agree to just that. After all, how can there be a “process”, when you don’t recognize the very people you are supposed to proceed with? On this point, Israel dominates.
But why won’t the Palestinians agree? Is it religiously based? Or, put another way: Does this idea really go diametrically against what the Islamic position is vis-à-vis Israel as a Jewish State for all Jews?
Not often heard, but some Muslim scholars, such as Sheikh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi and Imam Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini believe that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of Israel, is in fact, exactly in accordance with the teachings of Islam. Prof. Khaleel Mohammed, Islamic Law scholar of the San Diego State University, noted that the Koran says (Surah 5:21) that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews. Period. He translates it thus: “Moses said: O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God has written for you, and do not turn tail, otherwise you will be losers.” Mohammed here understands “written” to mean this is the final word from God on the subject. Don’t believe it? Google it!
The point is that America can’t just dismiss Israel’s claim to the Holy Land, as many devout constituents believe that Israel will indeed rise to be a future superpower, and when trying to decipher who is dominating who, this fact must be contended with. With respect to the peace process, time and time again Israel is seen as bowing to American pressure. Does Israel have to let lose another 100 Palestinian terrorists to prove their “goodwill?” That is the opposite of dominating, and is completely compromising, from almost every position.
But as every day passes this reality is changing. The Torah states that living in Israel is like being in the palace of the King. As such, when Jews live in this place they bring prosperity to the region. Indeed, Israel is no slouch on its own, and has done admirably, to say the least, in developing a massive and complex net of weaponry and international self-defence mechanisms.
In fact, according to the 2012 National Power Index (NPI), released by the Foundation for National Security Research (FNSR), a New Delhi-based think tank, Israel achieved a 32.19 NPI ranking, placing it tenth on the list of the world’s most powerful countries. The NPI is a quantification of a nation’s power, meaning its ability to influence global events. The ranking is based on a composite of indexes of statistical analysis in terms of economy, military, diplomacy, technology and population. Each factor has a certain weight, and the composite index includes a detailed analysis of individual components. The research appraises Israel as a country of approximately 8 million people, with a GDP of $272.7 billion and 176,500 active military personnel.
Now here’s another startling point: Israel actually stands out in military capability where it is ranked 6th in the world! And technological capability where it ranks 4th. Its capabilities ranked 25 in economy, 17 in population and 19 in foreign affairs. Despite hardly being able to put your thumb on it in a map, this is superpower in the making, by any standard. The index study notes that Israel has the strongest military in the Middle East, and is among the world’s leaders in technology and science. It also notes that Israel ranks 15 on the UN development index, illustrating the high quality of life in the Jewish state.
A true modern miracle. Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper, which describes itself as being the market leader in the Punjab and Islamabad areas, recently published an Op-ed that predicts Israel will become the world’s next superpower.
Having said all this, we are now beginning to see two superpowers on two continents that are at odds, and this eternally elusive peace process seems to always take center stage between them. But how can we traditionally compare these two nations in terms of size and power? The truth of the matter is that Obama’s foreign policy failures over the past 6 years have weakened America in almost every way. Their enemies are no longer afraid, and feel pretty safe in relying on the President to back down on just about any threat (think Syria’s chemical weapons, protecting the Iraqis, etc.), while at the same time traditional allies have been betrayed along the way. As a result, mighty America is now considered much weaker as a superpower, and little Israel that much stronger.
After Netanyahu’s address to Congress, I even saw bumper stickers with the American flag and the words: “BIBI for President in 2016!” America and Israel may not come to terms with the future of the peace process, but if they don’t team up now against their mutual enemies like IRAN, Nasrallah, and ISIS, they might somehow end up on opposite teams. Former close allies on opposite sides of the fence? Now THAT would be a terrible collision indeed.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter who dominates the relationship. Peace process or no peace process. Because essentially, that’s exactly just what it is – a process. Pursuing a “process.” However, if there comes a time when there is no more alliance left to dominate in this process, only one notion can save the day: At all costs, and especially when facing a nuclear Iran, all parties concerned must know that in this case (as Netanyahu said to Congress) “the enemy of your enemy……… is your enemy!”