Why Israel Is Nervous
Tension is escalating between the U.S and Israel. The problem: The administration views the Israeli-Palestinian issue as the root of all problems, while Israel is focused on Iran’s nuclear threat, says Elliott Abrams.
Iran is the major security issue facing Israel, which sees itself confronting an extremist regime seeking nuclear weapons and stating openly that Israel should be wiped off the map. Israel believes the military option has to be on the table and credible if diplomacy and sanctions are to have any chance, and many Israelis believe a military strike on Iran may in the end be unavoidable. The Obama administration, on the other hand, talks of outstretched hands; on July 15, even after Iran’s election, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “we understand the importance of offering to engage Iran….direct talks provide the best vehicle….We remain ready to engage with Iran.”
Ideology is the name of the game:
The deeper problem—and the more complex explanation of bilateral tensions—is that the Obama administration, while claiming to separate itself from the “ideologues” of the Bush administration in favor of a more balanced and realistic Middle East policy, is in fact following a highly ideological policy path. Its ability to cope with, indeed even to see clearly, the realities of life in Israel and the West Bank and the challenge of Iran to the region is compromised by the prism through which it analyzes events.
As Jennifer Rubin explains,
The takeaway here is deeply sobering. Ideologues don’t accept new evidence or recognize that their theories aren’t bearing fruit. Failures are always attributed to a lack of time or effort. We simply have to keep at it, we will be told. That does not bode well for a course correction. They have their worldview, and they are sticking with it.
As I have said before, the administration is telegraphing a message.