February 24, 2024

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Palestinian State Creation: A New Israeli-American Disagreement?

Palestinian State Creation: A New Israeli-American Disagreement?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly confirmed his opposition to the existence of “Palestinian sovereignty” on Thursday. But the United States, Israel's main backer in its campaign against Hamas, continues to present the creation of a Palestinian state as a condition for “true security.” To what extent can the Jewish state ignore the will of its historic ally? Encryption.

“Knows how to say no”. This mantra for personal development has found an unusual echo: “An Israeli prime minister can say no to even our best friends,” announced Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, January 18, addressing them without naming the United States.

At the heart of the differences is the creation of a Palestinian state. “It is impossible to have real security without it,” repeated Wednesday, January 17, the head of US diplomacy, Anthony Blinken, at the Davos Economic Forum.

Bringing back a form of “security” to the Middle East questions the credibility of the American policeman: the war between Israel and Hamas raises fears of an even more tangible regional upheaval.

Joe Biden still believes in the possibility and possibility of a “Palestinian state,” a White House spokesman said Friday, following a thirty-minute conversation between the US president and Benjamin Netanyahu.

But for this, Israel must have security control over the entire area west of the Jordan. “This is a necessary condition, which contradicts the idea of ​​(Palestinian) sovereignty,” the Israeli prime minister said, noting that he had made this clear to the Americans.

“With all due respect to them (the U.S.), we are no longer a star on the American flag,” recalled far-right Israeli Interior Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, ironically, two weeks earlier. America is our best friend.

A solid friendship: According to a report by the US Congress, Israel has received US$260 billion since its birth, making the Jewish state the country with the most greenbacks since the end of World War II.

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How far can Israel say “no” to the US, and what are the implications for the Palestinian question? Decryption with David Khalfa, Associate Director of the North Africa and Middle East Lab at the Jean Jarres Foundation.

France 24 : Are we witnessing a turning point in Israeli-American relations? ?

David Khalfa: The Israeli-American bilateral relationship is called “special” because it is based on both shared values, but also strategic interests. However, relations between Americans and Israelis have never been idle.

It was an emotional relationship between two friends and partners, but it experienced tense times. Even these tensions are old. We can easily go back to the presidency of Eisenhower, then Johnson, Carter, or most recently Obama. Even Donald Trump, described by Netanyahu as “Israel's best friend,” did not hesitate last October to call Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant a “stupid” or criticize the Israeli prime minister. October 7 Massacres.

There is now another strain in Israel-US relations. This is not an obvious crisis at this point, for one very simple reason: Joe Biden (Catholic, editor's note) defines himself as a Zionist, and his support for Israel is anchored in his personal history and politics. His support for the Jewish state, which is facing a multi-front war, is not thanks to Netanyahu, but the relationship with him is complicated and tumultuous.

See moreThe Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Return to the Two-State Solution

The creation of a Palestinian state is encouraged by Washington and Riyadh, as well as a section of the Israeli ruling class. Can Benjamin Netanyahu stop it? ?

In the short term, yes. Benjamin Netanyahu will do anything to stay in power, and his strategy is very clear to wage as much war as possible, because he knows he is unpopular and surrounded by business. So he tries to gain time by donning the garb of a warlord, hoping to regain the favor of public opinion. Netanyahu is a shrewd and calculating politician, but he is weakened by his reliance on his Faustian alliance with the far right, which opposes any prospect of resolving the conflict in the form of a two-state solution.

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Also, he is old, on borrowed time, and sooner or later will have to step down from the reins of power. Beyond the reflection of national unity maintained by the war and the trauma of October 7, the Israeli public has largely withdrawn its support. Polls show his popularity is falling, including among moderate right-wing voters.

But the political concession of the Gulf petromonarchies to pave the way for normalizing their relations with Israel through substantial progress towards the creation of a Palestinian state will sustain Benjamin Netanyahu. After all, the leaders of petromonarchies are young and in charge for decades. Finally, it should be added that the Israeli political system will change profoundly after Netanyahu leaves. The center, epitomized by Benny Gantz, must pick up the torch and send the right and the right back into opposition.

What about America? Is Benjamin Netanyahu betting on Donald Trump winning the US presidential election by rejecting proposals from a Democratic administration? ?

Sure, but it's a risky bet. Because the relationship between Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump, while very volatile, is now very new. The former US president feels that Benjamin Netanyahu betrayed him by recognizing Joe Biden's election victory in November 2020.

Then, remember that the $14.5 billion in additional emergency aid that Joe Biden promised Israel has yet to be approved by the Senate because Republicans oppose it. This is for purely political reasons, nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but everything to do with the polarization of American political life.

Any Democratic proposal is a pretext for formal obstruction by Republicans, even if it prioritizes their immediate political interest in America's strategic alliance with Israel. Conversely, if Donald Trump were to take office, Democrats would likely pursue a similar strategy of formal obstructionism.

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Will Washington's $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel be called into question each year? ?

Beyond the tenant of the White House, there is a tradition of pro-Israelism within the Pentagon, with most American strategists believing that an alliance with Israel is primarily in America's interest.

But if such aid is not questioned, the conditions under which it presents its risk will become complicated, as we see the politicization of US military support for the Jewish state, an issue that has previously escaped real debate. In America.

Isolationism in the Republican Party, Progressivism in the Democratic Party: In the medium term, developments in US politics may lead Israel to make more concessions if the country wants to retain more US diplomatic and military support.

Especially since the Israelis rely more than ever on this military aid, and especially because they are betting on high technology, conflicts in urban areas are volatile with all kinds of artillery ammunition, including “low-tech”, such as tank shells. Not made in Israel.

This gives the Americans leverage in Israel's war-making. The establishment of humanitarian corridors in Gaza, an increase in humanitarian aid to Gazans, and a reduction in Israel's military footprint in the Palestinian territories were achieved under pressure from the US administration, contrary to what Benjamin Netanyahu believed his own people.