Understanding the U.S.-Israel relations

  1. Within days of the October 7, 2023, attack by Hamas inside Israel, killing at least 1,400 people, President Joe Biden traveled to Israel to declare solidarity with the Jewish state. Mr. Biden described Hamas as “unadulterated evil” and stated that America “stands with Israel”.
  2. Since the October 7 attack, Israel has been bombing Gaza relentlessly and is currently carrying out a ground invasion in which at least 8,700 Palestinians have already been killed. The U.S. has been careful not to criticize Israel even in the face of the latter’s disproportionate attack on the tiny enclave of 2.3 million people.
  3.  The U.S. has also vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that called for a humanitarian pause to Israel’s attacks and voted against a resolution at the UN General Assembly calling for a humanitarian truce, which was passed with a landslide.

Origins of the U.S.-Israel ties

  1. The U.S. had supported the idea of a Jewish homeland even before the state of Israel was declared within historical Palestine in 1948.
  2. On March 3, 1919, two years after the Balfour Declaration, in which the British government declared its support for the creation of a “Jewish homeland in Palestine”, President Woodrow Wilson said, “The allied nations with the fullest concurrence of our government and people are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundations of a Jewish Commonwealth.”
  3. In 1922 and 1944, the U.S. Congress passed resolutions endorsing the Balfour Declaration. The U.S. was the first country that recognized Israel in 1948.
  4. The recognition came in 11 minutes after the proclamation. “I had faith in Israel before it was established, I have faith in it now,” President Harry Truman said on May 26, 1952. Though the U.S. offered the state of Israel support right from the latter’s birth, the initial two decades of their relationship had not been very smooth.
  5. The Eisenhower administration was unhappy when Israel, along with France and Britain, launched the Suez war.
  6. Washington threatened to cut aid to Israel if it did not withdraw from the territories it had captured.
  7. The Soviet Union also threatened to fire missiles unless Israel withdrew, and finally Israel had to pull back from the areas it seized.
  8. Similarly, in the 1960s, the Kenney administration had voiced concerns about Israel’s secret nuclear programme.

Current status of the U.S.-Israel ties

  • Today, Israel is an exceptional ally of Washington. The U.S. offers practically unconditional financial, military and political support for Israel, which has been occupying Palestinian territories since 1967.

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