SHUBHDA CHAUDHARY | 16 MARCH, 2016
NEW DELHI: As the US Elections are getting nearer and the suspense evolving to an irresistible margin, it is quite timely to speculate the impact the US Presidential Elections on Israel. To start with, President Obama had been not on the same wavelength with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with their individual differences often catching the media’s eye. Though, Obama did nothing concrete for the Palestinian cause, he was subtly against the Israeli settlements and went ahead with the nuclear deal with Iran, which Netanyahu called a ‘historic mistake.’
Now the tides are troubling for Israel. So intoxicated with its ‘security dilemma’, Israel is once again facing the same conundrum that it faced when Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt and there were speculations that the Egypt-Israel Peace treaty would be ‘influenced’. Well, what happened in Egypt is not a different story but US Presidential elections form a greater risk to Israel. The two candidates of the Democratic Party, be it Bernie Sanders of Hillary Clinton have not shared the same frequency as Netanyahu must have expected. For example, last year, Bernie Sanders boycotted Netanyahu’s Congress Speech. Secondly, Hillary, no matter how pro-Israel her political statements must be right now, has had the history of thorny relations, starting right from 1990s.
So it does not come as a surprise if Netanyahu and his government is impatiently awaiting the end of Obama’s eight years and looking forward for a Republican candidate who they can see ‘eye to eye’.
So what about Donald Trump?
With his muscular language and flamboyant speeches, Trump is quite unpredictable. He makes statements like ‘he would bomb the hell out of ISIS’. As if, US had no prior history or contribution to the creation of what we know as ISIS. Also, as if US is once again ready to spend its taxpayer’s money on another military spectacle. One ray of hope for Netanyahu is that Trump condemned the Nuclear deal with Iran. It’s another matter that he ‘hates’ Muslims, generally. But at the same time, Netanyahu is also worried about the ‘isolationist streak’ present in Trump. He, for example, wanted Russia to lead the bombing campaign against ISIS with US to do nothing with it. If the entire West Asia, in its current obnoxious mayhem is not intervened by US, or rather led by US, it would be a serious issue for Netanyahu government which is so intricately dependent on the former.
The main question comes back to the Palestine-Israel Peace Process? If selected, what would be Trump’s role? He states that he would help in bringing peace, but how? If he embraces the ‘neutral’ character, that for the highly insecure Israel would mean being ‘unsupportive.’ So, Netanyahu’s government is currently not very elated with the unpredictable style of maneuvering politics as Trump is doing. He might publicly claim to be Israel’s ‘best friend’ but then what would ensure it after he comes to power? And that so, if he does.
In a nutshell, the crux of the matter is that Israel’s political and strategic relation with US has been topsy-turvy for quite some time. Definitely, this political scenario is quite tentative and unpredictable. So, even if Trump comes to power, the political situation for Israel won’t ease.