Aid to Is­rael ad­vances U.S. in­ter­ests

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND VOICES - Jay Bern­stein, Bal­ti­more

Richard Gross asks why the United States signed a deal for mil­i­tary as­sis­tance to Is­rael when by so do­ing, the U.S. sur­ren­dered its “lever­age” to force Is­rael to make peace with the Palestinians (“Is­rael aid deal de­lays po­ten­tial for peace,” Sept. 19).

The ques­tion wrongly pre­sumes that the mil­i­tary as­sis­tance pro­vided to Is­rael is of so lit­tle value to the U.S. that it should be with­held to ex­tract po­lit­i­cal con­ces­sions from the Is­raelis. To the con­trary, the mil­i­tary as­sis­tance al­lows Is­rael to de­velop ex­per­tise in the fields of in­tel­li­gence, home­land se­cu­rity, mis­sile de­fense and anti-ter­ror­ism, which is shared with the U.S. and helps the U.S. to meet its own se­cu­rity chal­lenges.

The ques­tion also wrongly pre­sumes that con­fronting Is­rael is the best way to ad­vance peace. In re­al­ity, the with­hold­ing of mil­i­tary as­sis­tance would only re­in­force Is­rael’s sense of iso­la­tion and in­se­cu­rity with­out in­duc­ing the Palestinians to mod­er­ate their po­si­tions. Only a strong Is­rael that is con­fi­dent that it has Amer­ica’s full sup­port will be pre­pared to take the risks which will be de­manded of it as part of a fi­nal set­tle­ment.

Fi­nally, the ques­tion wrongly pre­sumes that Is­rael is the in­tran­si­gent party in the con­flict. How­ever, re­gard­less of the pres­sure ex­erted upon Is­rael, peace will not be achieved un­til the Palestinians end their in­cite­ment of vi­o­lence against Jewish Is­raelis and glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of mur­der­ers, re­nounce their in­sis­tence upon a “right of re­turn” and ac­knowl­edge Is­rael as the na­tional home of the Jewish peo­ple.

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