In a Nutshell:
Israel does not control the US but has been highly influential in relation to its foreign policy. The US dominates and influences the Middle East, the one that dictates. On many issues both have the same policy, however this does not mean the US would abandon its interests for Israel or for other countries. US support for the Israeli government, like US support for its other allies, is not based on security needs or arbitrary commitments to such countries. US foreign policy has always been and remains driven by its own strategic interests.
People often look at Israel in awe, a-seventy-year old nation built by those persecuted for centuries.
It has one of the most advanced militaries, defeating its neighbouring nations in a war when it was created, likewise with four subsequent wars, given a relatively small population the size of an island.
It is such facts that lead people to think that Israel must pull strings around the world, project power and influence, to the extent it controls or dictates US foreign policy.
Who is in control and to what extent?
The close relationship between the two countries has been a salient feature in US foreign policy for over four decades now. The $3 billion in military and economic aid sent annually to Israel is rarely questioned in Congress. Even liberals fail to critique it whilst they regularly question aid to governments participating in widespread human rights violations; likewise conservatives who oppose foreign aid in general.
Most Western countries share US support for Israel's right to exist in peace and security. However, it is the US that usually stands alone with Israel at the UN and other forums when objections or criticism is raised over Israeli violations of international law and human rights concerns.
The US involvement in the Middle East developed after WW2 due to Gulf oil. It decided that it could not remain isolated any longer and began policy formulation and manoeuvring in the region.
The State Department in 1944 described the Arabian Peninsula as constituting:
'A stupendous source of strategic power and the greatest material prize in the world's history'.
The US was aware that controlling the region's oil would allow it significant control over other countries. George Kennan, the influential planner of the containment of the Soviet Union, commented in 1949:
'If the US controlled the oil, it would have veto power over the potential actions in the future of rivals like Germany and Japan'.
After realising the potential of the Middle East, the US set forward multiple plans and strategies to control the region.
The development of a Jewish homeland had been proposed by British Prime Minister in 1906:
'There are people (the Muslims) who control spacious territories teeming with manifest and hidden resources. They dominate the intersections of world routes. Their lands were the cradles of human civilizations and religions. These people have one faith, one language, one history and the same aspirations. No natural barriers can isolate these people from one another…if, per chance, this nation was to be unified into one state; it would then take the fate of the world into its hands and would separate Europe from the rest of the world.
Taking these considerations seriously, a foreign body should be planted in the heart of this nation to prevent the convergence of its wings in such a way that it could exhaust its powers in never-ending wars. It could also serve as a springboard for the West to gain its coveted objects'.
Israel was formed on the basis of fulfilling a British interest by being placed in the middle of the Muslim world; however British weakness after the second World War led to the United States taking control of the region.
The US looked towards Israel, within defined and secured boundaries, even though it was developed with dreams of Eretz Israel (a greater Israel). This was the very first difference between the US and Israel. Israel's position is very clear since it has refused to define its borders. This exposed the fact Israel was not a US colony and had its own conflicting interests.
Ever since the Zionist movement was formed, Zionists have been aiming to achieve economic and political domination over the region. The US however rejects the idea of substituting European influence with Zionist influence; likewise, with sharing power with another country. The US is committed to protecting Israel, guaranteeing both her security and prosperity, however refusing to allow Israel share influence with her.
To prevent Israeli growth and the spread of Israeli influence in the region, American policy has been based on isolating Israel from the other parts of the region to curtail her and minimise her role in the quest to solve the Palestinian issue and the Middle Eastern issue.
US policy is focused on establishing a Palestinian state to act as an instrument of containment; by initiating a host of international guarantees and by bringing multinational forces to be deployed along the borders between Israel and neighbouring Arab countries – Jordan, Syria, Egypt and the future Palestinian state. The American policy has focused on working towards the internalisation of Jerusalem, as America views this internalisation as a solution to the crisis of Jerusalem that would please the Christians and guarantee a strong American presence through the presence of the UN.
How are US and Israeli policies formed?
Different factors have led the US and Israeli foreign policies to reach the extent they have today:
Israel has successfully managed to establish a state and mobilise its resources to achieve many of its long term aims. However, without Western aid, it is impossible to see how Israel could have reach this position.
Israel however has failed to establish a state with fixed borders encompassing the lands it was supposedly promised by God and this is due only to one reason – such an aim is not in the interest of the US.
The US expects defined Israeli borders alongside a Palestinian state. The Likud party which has been the party of power for most of Israel's history tried to unilaterally define the borders by building settlements and expelling Muslims.
However, Israel still needs the US for any final settlement and for these reasons, it has organised lobbying in the US and the world's media in order to achieve a favourable outcome.
The endeavour to achieve Eratz Israel is complicated due to the fact that the Labour party in Israel believes in giving up land for permanent defined borders. It believes this is a price worth paying for the much-needed security.
Israel does not control the US but has been highly influential in relation to its foreign policy. The US dominates and influences the Middle East, the one that dictates.
On many issues both have the same policy, however this does not mean the US would abandon its interests for Israel or for other countries.
US support for the Israeli government, like US support for its other allies, is not based on security needs or arbitrary commitments to such countries. US foreign policy has always been and remains driven by its own strategic interests.
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