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The Case for Concord: US–Israel Alliance More Important Than Ever

The US–Israel alliance is a cornerstone of stability in the Middle East. If Israel failed to defeat Hamas, this would have catastrophic consequences for the region, the alliance and US interests. So, US political support for Israel must not falter.
By
USA Israel

USA Israel. Photo American flag and Flag of Israel conveys the partnership between the two states through the main symbols of these countries © Shabtay / shutterstock.com

November 10, 2023 03:14 EDT
SAVE

Home to over 400 million people and the nexus of many global trade and supply chains, the Middle East has immense strategic and geopolitical importance. The United States and Israel exert significant influence through their alliance in this region. This alliance has been influential in Israel’s ongoing conflict with Hamas and has far-reaching implications for regional stability. A potential defeat on Israel’s part threatens the stability of the region, strengthens radical factions, and poses a threat to US national interests.

Throughout Israel’s history, the United States has explicitly supported Israel’s right to self-defense. These two countries share a common goal in countering Iran, an Islamist regime which has positioned itself as Israel’s archenemy. It is developing nuclear weapons, and it supports proxy groups throughout the Middle East, including several that are close to the borders of Israel — especially Hamas, a Sunni extremist group based in the Gaza Strip to Israel’s southeast, and Hezbollah, a Shia extremist group based in Lebanon to Israel’s north.

The US maintains control over diplomatic channels, employing negotiations and sanctions to prevent the advancement of Iran’s nuclear program. Israel has reserved the right to take military action against the Iranian nuclear threat. Additionally, Israel and the United States jointly strive to reduce Iran’s influence in the Middle East, with the Abraham Accords being a significant example of this cooperation.

The US protects Israel during the current conflict

On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched a brutal attack against Israeli citizens, killing 1,400 people. In response, Israel initiated a military campaign to neutralize Hamas’s rocket launchers, tunnels and leadership centers in Gaza. The waves of this conflict have also reached Lebanon, where Palestinian militants launched rockets from southern Lebanon into northern Israel. In turn, Israel has retaliated with precision strikes.

Israel’s attention is thus being drawn in at least two directions. Israel’s enemies — which include both militant groups and states like Syria — could decide to strike while Israel is distracted, enlarging the war. To forestall this, the US has decided to respond with a show of force. Sending two aircraft carrier groups to the area signals to would-be belligerents that the US will not allow Israel to be attacked.

A potential Israeli failure to defeat Hamas could have disastrous implications for the region. It would embolden regional players like Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, leading to an escalation of hostilities and territorial ambitions. This, in turn, poses security threats to the United States and its regional allies, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. These Sunni states see revolutionary Shia Iran as a threat to their own stability.

Already, US forces stationed in the region have been coming under attack as a consequence of the fighting. This would doubtless escalate if Iran and its other proxies were to get directly involved in the war. So, by supporting Israel’s security, the US indirectly contributes to its own security and prevents regional conflicts. Only in a stable environment can peace processes, like Israeli–Arab normalization, move forward.

This conflict the economies of both nations

Mutually beneficial economic cooperation is a pivotal aspect of the US–Israel alliance. In 1985, the two nations signed a free trade agreement. This agreement eliminated tariffs on many goods and services. Following this agreement, bilateral trade between Israel and the US saw a remarkable increase. The US is Israel’s primary trading partner. In 2019, the trade in goods and services between these two countries reached $50 billion. The United States also plays a significant role in foreign direct investment in Israel, accounting for nearly 40% of foreign direct investment in Israel in the same year.

This innovation and collaboration is facilitated through various bilateral foundations that encompass research and development projects across diverse fields. Major examples include the Binational Science Foundation, the Binational Agriculture Research and Development Fund, the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation and the United States–Israel Binational Science Foundation. These foundations have funded numerous projects, leading to significant breakthroughs, patents, products and startups. In turn, the projects have enhanced the competitive edge and quality of life for both nations.

Hi-tech Israel is a regional economic powerhouse. If Israel cannot defeat Hamas, this would jeopardize economic cooperation and development between the United States and Israel. Understandably, no one wants to do business in a country where rockets are flying or militants could pour over the border without warning. So, trade and investment activities would be disrupted.

The intensified crisis could lead to flight cancellations, damage to Israel’s infrastructure and stringent security measures restricting the movement of people and goods. Collaborative research and innovative projects would be directly impacted by the ongoing conflict. In an Israeli defeat scenario, then, the US would lose one of its most capable economic partners.

US commitment to Israeli values and interests must continue

But US–Israeli friendship is not just about money. It is about shared values, interests, and common perspectives between Israel and the Middle East. Both nations are vibrant democracies. They embody political respect for human rights, the rule of law, freedom of expression and religion.

Furthermore, they share a vision of peace and stability. In 2020, the US mediated the signing of the Abraham Accords, which normalized ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. These exemplified the collaborative efforts of the US and Israel to promote cooperation and dialogue with Arab and Muslim nations, previously Israel’s adversaries.

In the realm of diplomacy, the US has consistently advocated for Israel’s legitimacy and security interests on the global stage. Using its UN Security Council veto power, the US has prevented the passage of resolutions that it deemed unfair or detrimental to Israel’s security or diplomatic standing.

A scenario in which Israel is defeated in the face of Hamas jeopardizes the credibility of the US as a reliable partner and protector of its allies, already weakened by its defeat in Afghanistan and its inability to secure Ukrainian victory against Russia. The United States must unequivocally stand alongside Israel and support efforts to end the confrontation with Hamas and other fighting factions.

The US–Israeli alliance is a cornerstone of democracy, stability and prosperity in the Middle East. The US cannot allow its ally to be exposed to vicious, terroristic attacks any longer. As Israel is engaged in a vital struggle against Hamas, American support cannot falter.

[Cheyenne Torres edited this piece.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

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