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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/29/15

A United States-Israel Defense Treaty: Changing the Status Quo With Regard to the Israe

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A United States-Israel Defense Treaty: Changing the Status Quo With Regard to the Israeli -Palestinian Conflict

A resolution of the Israel Palestine conflict can be achieved by means of a United States-Israel Mutual Defense Treaty. This would not be the first time that such a treaty was employed by the United States as a political tool to resolve seemingly implacable problems . Polls have shown that that with the possible exception of the Israeli right wing the great majority of Israelis would approve a two state Clinton solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict coupled to a Mutual Defense Treaty.[tag]

Hebron demonstration, against the settlements and marking the .Land day.
Hebron demonstration, against the settlements and marking the .Land day.
(Image by ISM Palestine)
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At a press conference held last year at the Oval Office President Obama stated that "leaders must find ways to change the status quo so that both Israeli citizens are safe in their own homes"but also we don't have the tragedy of Palestinian children being killed as well". The United States' commitment to Israel's security was reiterated by the President at a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu on October 1, 2014 when he stated that this meeting "gives us the opportunity once again to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel and our ironclad commitment to making sure that Israel is secure". President Obama can change the status quo by following in the footsteps of two of his predecessors. These Presidents impacted on the course of history by the judicial use of Mutual Defense Treaties as political tools.

One of the predecessors that President Obama can emulate is President Truman. In 1951 he addressed the strong fear to their security of the people of Australia and New Zealand to a rearmed Japan by formulating the tripartite ANSUZ Defense Treaty between the United States, Australia and New Zealand which guaranteed American intervention in the case of future Japanese aggression. The other predecessor is President Eisenhower who in 1954 pressured the nationalist government of Formosa-Taiwan- to desist from its aggressive design on mainland China in return for a Mutual Defense Treaty which authorized the use of United States forces to defend Formosa against attack. In retrospect the Mutual Defense Treaty with the Formosa government has achieved 60 years of relative calm in one of the most potentially incendiary parts of the world.

What would be the reaction of the Israeli public to an American prescribed resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which calls for a two state solution coupled to a United States-Israeli Defense Treaty? This question was posed in a poll commissioned by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace and published in November of 2012. In this poll 75% of the Jewish public supported a two state solution when coupled to a United States-Israeli Defense Treaty. The results of the 2012 poll are similar to another poll taken in 2010 where 70 percent of the Jewish public supported a two state Clinton model solution that included a United States-Israeli Defense Treaty. The support of a mutual defense treaty correlates with the findings if the Tel Aviv University Peace Index poll from November 2013 where" (79%) believes Israel's existence currently depends to one extent or another on the military, political, and economic assistance that it receives from the United States.

A United States- Israel Defense Treaty-preferably engaging the Saudi Initiative, the Palestinians and Jordan- would in effect upgrade the existing relationship between the two nations as demonstrated by the Memorandum of Strategic Cooperation signed on November 3,1981. This special relationship was made explicit by President Obama in 2012 when he declared "I will say that we have closer military and intelligence consultations between our two countries than we have ever had and my number one priority continues to be the security of the United States, but also the security of Israel.

In 1969 Israel's iconic foreign minister Aba Eban's statement that withdrawal from areas conquered in '67 would return the pre war" Auschwitz border" expresses the sentiment of many Israeli Jews who in principal support a 2 state Clinton solution but who harbor serious reservations about Israel's security. In a survey conducted in April 2012, 43% of the respondents reported concern that the State of Israel could be destroyed. By offering Israel a Mutual Defense Treaty, the United States government can address the anxiety of the majority of Israeli Jews who support a two state solution by providing a level of security unattainable under any other scenario. ." Notwithstanding the special relationship between the two countries, a United States-Israel defense treaty is perceived by the majority of the Jewish public as a more cogent guarantee of its continued existence than Presidential public statements. Marvin Kalb discussed the issue of a United States-Israeli defense treaty versus Presidential promises in his latest book -2013_ "Road to War" when he wrote:" A question often asked by political leaders in Israel is whether Obama will live up to his word. Will his commitment be honored or betrayed by him or by a successor? The answer to this question can mean war or peace. Might it not be better for both nations to negotiate a formal defense treaty--and, in this way, try to reduce or even eliminate areas of doubt in their relationship".

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