Israel has historically been one of the United States of America’s closest allies, and closest regional ally. The United States has aided Israel in combating communism in the region since the 1970’s, and currently assists with counter terrorism and stability operations in the region. Israel’s present administration, under Binyamin Netanyu’s Likud Party, must come to a suitable agreement with the Palestinian Liberation Organization over the contested areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in order to lessen the number of enemies within the region.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, was voted into office on 18 March 2013, shifting Israeli politics from center to center-right. The shift in Israeli politics is due to a mixture of an increase in the practice of Orthodox Judaism and the perception of an increased threat from Violent Extremist Organizations (VEO) and rival states within the region. The legitimization of HAMAS in the Gaza Strip as the head political party, and Hezbollah receiving over 10% of parliamentary seats in the most recent elections have exacerbated previous Palestinian tensions. The United Nations nuclear agreement with Iran is also seen as a failure contributing to the success of the Likud Party, since the agreement did not decrease the actual number of centrifuges Iran possess. The Likud Party currently controls the Prime Minister and Secretary of Defense positions along with 68 of 120 Parliamentary seats within the Knesset. Prime Minister Netanyahu is using this small majority to push a more aggressive foreign policy agenda than has historically been seen. Netanyahu’s current foreign policy platform focuses on a balance between internal security via the Iron Dome missile defense system, counter-terrorism, maintaining internal stability, and Iran’s nuclear program. Israel’s current foreign policy allows for peace talks with various Palestinian interest groups; however, a recent increase of settlers within the West Bank, numbering over 500,000 now, indicate a strong Israeli unwillingness to negotiate the creation of a two party Israeli-Palestinian State.
Significance to the United States
Israel has been the United States main ally within the region. Turkey’s increased regional influence has shifted United States foreign policy from being solely based on Israel, to a balance between Israel and Turkey. The U.S. Senate recently passed Senate Resolution 65 on May 22, 2013, which states the U.S. would militarily and economically assist Israel in case of war. This bill is significant since it states further military action, with economic support, would only occur if the President of the United States and Congress assessed the Israel’s actions were of a defensive nature. If Israel committed offensive actions against either HAMAS, Hezbollah, or Iran, like the Israeli-Lebanese War of 2006, then the U.S. would not be obligated to interfere. Israel conducted an Air Force exercise in the eastern...