Pricey President Biden!
In October 1973, the Egyptian and Syrian armies delivered a shock pincer strike towards Israel. When the Israeli military ran out of ammunition, your predecessor Richard Nixon ordered the airlift of weapons that helped save the one Jewish democracy from exterior destruction.
Fifty years later, Mr. President, this Jewish democracy urgently wants one other airlift to reserve it from being destroyed from inside. He wants pressing replenishment of harsh truths – one thing that solely you possibly can present.
And what are these truths? If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to attempt to push by way of a invoice that can strip the Israeli Supreme Courtroom of its most necessary authorized authority — to evaluate excessive appointments or selections from the Israeli political echelon — and achieve this with no semblance of nationwide consensus, it’s going to destroy the Israeli army and never solely undermine shared values between the US and Israel, BUT ALSO US VITAL INTERESTS.
Mr. President, once we met final Tuesday and also you made me a really measured assertion urging Netanyahu to not “pressure” this regulation with out the “broadest potential consensus” which he clearly would not have, it was a shock to the Israeli political system and dominated the information for days.
It was such a shock as a result of the overwhelming majority of Israelis consider – and rightly so – that you’re a true good friend and that your recommendation comes from the center.
However I am afraid this Israeli authorities wants one other dose of your powerful love, not simply out of your coronary heart, however from the center of US strategic pursuits.
As a result of Netanyahu is shifting ahead regardless of your calls. Regardless of a warning from greater than 1,100 Israeli Air Drive pilots and technicians that they might not fly for a dictatorship. Regardless of an open letter signed by dozens of former prime safety officers, together with former heads of the Israel Protection Forces, Mossad, Shin Wager and police, pleading with the prime minister to cease. Regardless of warnings from Israel’s important enterprise discussion board of “irreversible and devastating penalties for the Israeli financial system.” Regardless of fears that this might find yourself breaking unit cohesion on the Israeli military base. And this regardless of the outstanding, largely spontaneous five-day march of extraordinary Israelis from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the likes of which have by no means occurred earlier than.
If I can counsel, Mr. President, it’s needed that your secretary of state, your secretary of protection, your secretary of treasury, your secretary of commerce, your secretary of agriculture, your US commerce consultant, your lawyer normal, your director of the CIA, and your Joint Chiefs of Workers name their Israeli counterparts and inform them that if Netanyahu strikes ahead – with out consensus, splitting Israeli society and its army – it won’t solely undermine the widespread values between our two international locations, however and can trigger severe harm to our personal strategic pursuits within the Center East.
And US pursuits are largely our enterprise. As a result of because the Knesset prepares to vote on this problem on Monday, one thing essential might collapse in Israel and in our relationship with Israel. And as soon as it’s gone, it’s going to by no means return.
I hope it is not too late.
What American pursuits are at stake? By now, it ought to be apparent to each American politician that the Netanyahu cupboard, which you known as one of the vital “excessive” you’ve got ever encountered, is focusing on two dismantling tasks.
One is to take away the ability of the Supreme Courtroom to curb this authorities’s extremist agenda, and the opposite is to destroy the Oslo peace course of and its two-state street map to pave the best way for Israel’s unilateral annexation of the West Financial institution. Oslo has been a cornerstone of US coverage within the Center East since 1993.
The 2 dismantlings are intertwined: Jewish supremacists in Netanyahu’s cupboard have to get the Supreme Courtroom out of the best way with the intention to perform their plans to annex the West Financial institution. Such a transfer might simply destabilize Jordan, as it will doubtless push increasingly more Palestinians there and alter its fragile demographic stability. Jordan is crucial buffer state within the area for the US, which operates from Jordanian territory in cooperation with Jordan to counter threats to US safety from Syria and western Iraq, the place ISIS forces proceed to function.
On the identical time, Mr. President, you’re wrestling with one of the vital necessary selections ever made in US technique within the Center East: whether or not to grant Saudi Arabia’s requests for formal American safety ensures, a US-controlled civilian nuclear program, and entry to a number of the most superior US weapons. In change, Saudi Arabia will normalize relations with Israel (supplied that Israel makes some concessions to the Palestinians) and restrict cooperation with China.
It might be troublesome and irritating to get such a deal by way of Congress with out sturdy assist from Democrats within the Senate. As you already know, Mr. President Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are two of the world’s least fashionable leaders amongst progressive Democrats, particularly since Netanyahu over the previous decade has sought to make assist for Israel a Republican affair and as an alternative rejected the embrace of secular American Jews in favor of evangelical Christians.
In brief, getting sufficient assist amongst Democrats to make this difficult take care of Saudi Arabia can be an enormous enhance on day; will probably be much more troublesome if Netanyahu neutralizes the Israeli Supreme Courtroom, undermining our shared values of an unbiased judiciary, and continues with plans to annex the West Financial institution. And with out you as president, such a deal can be subsequent to unattainable, as a result of only a few Democrats within the Senate would assist it if it had been promoted by a Republican president. In brief, the window for this deal is small.
What’s extra, in 2016, you and President Barack Obama signed a $38 billion 10-year settlement to strengthen the Israeli army. Ought to we simply sit again and watch silently because the army, which now we have invested so closely in to extend our affect within the Center East, falls aside as a result of makes an attempt to restrict the ability of the Israeli Supreme Courtroom? It might be a catastrophe for us and for Israel, which has actual enemies on its doorstep like Iran and Hezbollah.
As well as, we’re already seeing that the intense habits of this Israeli authorities in increasing settlements within the West Financial institution is beginning to harm the historic relationship established by President Donald Trump between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco by way of the Abraham Accords. All three Arab international locations had been pressured to chill their diplomatic relations with Israel.
Mr. President, in any democracy there isn’t any establishment that can not be improved, and this is applicable to the Israeli Supreme Courtroom. There have been complaints from the centre-right that the Israeli Supreme Courtroom has often engaged in judicial abuse previously. However between 2015 and 2019, the Likud governments efficiently secured the appointment of 4 conservative justices to the Supreme Courtroom — below the present system, which Netanyahu desires to desert. This reveals how fictitious all this “judicial reform” is.
There’s a big distinction between making the Israeli Supreme Courtroom extra politically and ethnically inclusive and making this Israeli authorities resistant to its management – particularly in a system the place the Supreme Courtroom in Israel is the one actual test on govt energy.
And the latter is what the Netanyahu coalition is doing, and it’s the latter that undermines not solely our widespread values with Israel, but in addition our personal strategic pursuits, which now we have the correct – and even the duty – to guard.