תמונה של עמוס גלעד
Amos Gilad
photo: Gabriel Baharlia
Meeting between PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and President Donald Trump

Israel should carefully consider defense deal with U.S.

Opinion: Even though it seems like an obvious choice to make, agreeing to a pact with America might do us more harm than good, especially when you factor in restrictions on Israel as it tries to balance a relationship with both Moscow and Washington

Amos Gilad |
Updated: 12.03.19 , 22:14
For those who aren't proficient in these matters, a Mutual Defense Pact between Israel and the U.S. seems like an excellent idea.
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  • The benefits appear to outweigh the cost. Any country would want to enter into such an agreement with a superpower. but the question to ask remains to what end?
    בנימין נתניהו פגישה עם נשיא ארה"ב דונלד טראמפ וושינגטון ארה"בבנימין נתניהו פגישה עם נשיא ארה"ב דונלד טראמפ וושינגטון ארה"ב
    Meeting between PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and President Donald Trump
    (Photo: MCT)
    Israel's geographical challenges require the IDF to remain independent in its actions, some of which may often be out of line with the policies U.S. policies.
    A defense pact if one is signed between the two countries would require Israel to abide by certain limitations and parameters set by the U.S.
    Intelligence sharing and cooperation between Israel and the U.S. is already an established fact. It might be best to leave it as is and not complicate it further.
    Certain security restrictions can't be discussed, but it's no secret that during the Gulf War in 1991, Israel was asked by the U.S. to refrain from targetting Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein, who was firing long-range missiles daily on Israel.
    Israel's best interest was indeed served by adhering to the American request, controversial as it may have been at the time.
    security cooperation and relations in general between the two countries is impressive.
    In fact, this relationship constitutes the pillar of Israel's national security, more so than ever before.
    For that reason alone it is more beneficial to advance the existing relations and not introduce new agreements that contain new restrictions.
    בנימין נתניהו פגישה עם נשיא ארה"ב דונלד טראמפ וושינגטון ארה"בבנימין נתניהו פגישה עם נשיא ארה"ב דונלד טראמפ וושינגטון ארה"ב
    PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and President Trump in Washington
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The same holds true for Israel's current trajectory with Iran, it would be best to leave the decisions regarding Iran to our own discretion, with the U.S. providing guidance and nothing more.
    It's also important to remember that President Donald Trump's preference is to reduce American troop's presence in the Middle East, which would contradict any mutual defense pact, causing unnecessary tensions between the two countries.
    Today, Israeli military and security branches must coordinate with Russia which controls large areas in the region, as well as with the U.S.
    If we do sign an agreement with our largest benefactor, we will have to negotiate Russia's role leaving our decision-making process compromised.
    ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו פגישה עם נשיא רוסיה ולדימיר פוטין ב סוצ'יראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו פגישה עם נשיא רוסיה ולדימיר פוטין ב סוצ'י
    PM Netanyahu with Russian President Vladimir Putin
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The very nature of an agreement with the U.S. should be carefully considered.
    It is unlikely the Americans would agree to an all-out mutual defense agreement which would prompt other Mideast countries to demand they be offered the same.
    President Donald Trump is sure to offer his country's commitment to counter an existential threat we might face. Just by making such a statement of support, the President is extending his commitment.
    It seems that the main motivation for such suggesting a mutual defense pact now stems mainly from political reasons designed to make certain political candidates look good.
    Political reasons are seemingly acceptable but they always overshadow security considerations and that should not be allowed.
    The mere declaration of an imminent agreement could also be harmful, as it could provoke others to put such a pact to the test.
    A real serious discussion should be had. top officials from all security and political establishments should be included because for now, this all smells less of a beneficial initiative and more like a propaganda ploy.

    First published: 22:14 , 12.03.19
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