1

Solved: How to Get U.S.-Israeli Relations Back on Track

May 6, 2015 Topic: Diplomacy Region: Middle East Tags: IsraelIranPalestine

Solved: How to Get U.S.-Israeli Relations Back on Track

"Both sides ought to develop realistic ways of dealing with the common challenges they face."

A failure to reach an agreement might have similar results. It will bring about the full resumption of the Iranian nuclear project in addition to further difficulties in maintaining and expanding the sanctions regime. This will also increase feelings of insecurity among U.S. allies and push them to adopt risky solutions. There will be ample reasons for a discussion between the United States and Israel on these challenges and the necessary responses in all scenarios. Suitable mechanisms and communication channels should be developed by the United States and Israel in order to have these discussions. It will not be easy because of the burden of the bad personal relations, but it is possible. There are precedents in the history of U.S.-Israel relations for dialogue under similar circumstances.

Finally, it is too early to determine the level of damage accrued to the U.S.-Israeli relationship, and much can still be corrected. However, there are areas in which it will be difficult to put the genie back in the bottle. Partisanship is here to stay. Netanyahu further pushed away from Israel Democratic lawmakers as well as progressive Americans in general, and that includes important segments of the U.S. population such as the educated young and African-Americans. If the new Israeli government wishes to minimize long-term damage, it should make a sincere effort to enhance its credibility as an ally, increase cooperation with the administration and not try to bypass it.

Israel and the United States should not miss the opportunity to engage on all issues in a manner that will put the relationship back on track to the greatest extent possible, while taking into account the political constraints of both sides. Both sides ought to develop realistic ways of dealing with the common challenges they face.

Brig. Gen. (ret.) Shlomo Brom is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Amb. Shimon Stein is a Senior Research Fellow at INSS and a former deputy director general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, and ambassador to Germany.

Image: Flickr/The White House