As the saying goes, a real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. Do you have friend who borrows money to help you instead of helping their own family? Do you have a friend who is willing to risk the security of their own family to protect you? Most people don’t have such a trusted friend. If you have one, how do you treat this special friend? How do you reciprocate your friend’s gestures?
How about embarrassing your friend in front of the world by doing exactly what you are not supposed to do? How about insulting your friend when he is visiting you at your own home? How about offending your friend by canceling your visits publically? How about being rude to your friend’s close friends? If all these things seem impossible to you in your personal life, welcome to the one-sided relationship between the US and Israel.
Go to any country in the Middle East: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and even Turkey or Saudi Arabia, which are supposed to be US allies, anyone you talk to will tell you the US is considered an unfair, one-sided, military power. Obviously the US foreign policy in the Middle East has been very unpopular and the root of many attacks on the US, including 9/11. The sticking point, of course, is the steadfast support of America to Israel. The US is the most trusted and perhaps the only friend of Israel.
US support for Israel began during the formation of Israel after World War II and continued at all costs. Even when Israel changed its strategy from defense to aggression, the US has given unwavering support to Israel. Support for Israel is not only political support, but economic and military aid. US donation, for example, to the Jewish virtual library, has exceeded $106 billion. Even if the US was not running a budget deficit, not paying interest for its loans, and not accounting for inflation for the past 50 years, the most conservative estimate for US monetary support for Israel is $18,275 per Israeli citizen. Israel has 5.8 million citizens. The actual costs (both indirect and direct) to US taxpayers may never be known.
In a nutshell, Israel is the single largest recipient of US foreign aid. Israel receives nearly one-third of the total direct bi-lateral aid. Excluding Egypt, which receives a large share of aid as a result of agreements made with Israel at Camp David; and Columbia, which receives large amounts to fight drug trafficking, Israel receives more aid from the US than all of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa combined.
What does Israel do to such a trusted friend? – Embarrass the US
As soon as the US Presidential elections concluded and just two weeks before the new President took office on January 20, 2009, Israeli troops launched attacks on Gaza. With a lame duck President in office, the Israeli offense, in the name of destroying Hamas infrastructure, was a defiant act to destroy the Middle East peace. According to Human Rights Watch, the 3-week Israeli attack over the densely populated civilian areas of Gaza was evidence of war crimes. The war crime charges by Human Rights Watch against Israeli was an embarrassment to the US government because the white phosphorous shells repeatedly fired by Israeli forces were made in the US.
In March 2010, Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel with the intent to strengthen the relationship and help renew the indirect peace negotiations with Palestinian. Indirect negotiations are very hard and required US Envoy George Mitchell to literally run between two sides. These negotiations are taking place after 17 months of both sides not talking. This shows the seriousness of the US government to bring the Israeli and Palestinian people into the peace process.
What does Israel do to such a trusted friend? – Insult the US
Israel made a surprise announcement to build 1,600 homes in the ultra-religious neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, which is located in a section of Jerusalem claimed by Palestinians as part of a future state. The announcement not only derailed the peace process, but is an affront to the US, as it occurred during Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel to jump start the peace process. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a long term and ardent supporter of Israel called the announcement of the settlements, during the day of Vice President Biden’s visit, insulting.
In February, 2010, Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was assassinated in Dubai. Dubai authorities say they are virtually certain Israeli agents carried out the killing and have released the identities of 11 people who travelled on forged British, Irish, French and German passports to kill Mabhouh in his hotel.
What does Israel do to a trusted friend? – Offend the humanitarian values of the US
While Israel has not denied or confirmed its role, the European Union (EU) condemned the fact that those involved in Mabhouh’s killing used fraudulent EU member states' passports and credit cards acquired through the theft of EU citizens' identities.
Last week, Israel attacked a flotilla traveling in international waters and carrying humanitarian supplies for Gaza citizens. Nine passengers were killed by Israeli forces. Israel claims the Israeli Defense Forces were attacked by the passengers and acted in self defense. Since the summer of 2008, five flotillas have gotten through the blockade to deliver humanitarian goods to Gaza. Monday's flotilla was the largest mission. The Israeli raid is condemned worldwide and has been met with global protests. President Obama actually spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu after the incident.
What does Israel do to a trusted friend? – Prime Minister Netanyahu cancels his meeting with the US
Interestingly, Netanyahu was set to discuss with President Obama about the U.N. conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Israel considers, ignores the realities of the Middle East and singled out Israel in the document. The United States signed onto the document.
Sixty years of Israel’s special relationship with US should not be hurt by one or two isolated incidents. But, there is a clear pattern in the collision course pursued by Israel of pulling the rug under the feet of its trusted friend. The Netanyahu Administration seems to have pushed the limits of the US-Israeli friendship possibly beyond repair.